2022 CJ Cup Best Bets

A star-studded 78-golfer field for the 2022 CJ Cup tees off Thursday, Oct. 20 at Congaree Golf Club in Ridgeland, South Carolina.

Congaree is a Par 71 Tom Fazio-designed course with a 7,655 yardage. The CJ Cup is a no-cut, 4-round tournament and the 5th event of the PGA Tour 2022-23 season.

We hit our first outright of the season at last week’s ZOZO Championship with Keegan Bradley, cashing a 35-to-1 ticket.

My 2022-23 PGA Tour balance is now +5.5 units. The recap of my other ZOZO action is at the bottom.

CJ Cup ‘3 Amigos’

  • All stats are provided by FantasyNational.com unless otherwise noted.

Shane Lowry

Congaree was built on sandy soil that resembles Australia’s sandbelt courses. There is very little rough on the course replaced by long bunkers lining the fairways and surrounding the greens.

It has a links-like feel with firm and fast surfaces instead of rolling hills. With that in mind, my favorite look in the CJ Cup — Irishman Shane Lowry — is an amazing links golfer whose game fits Congaree.

Lowry is the top-ranked golfer in my CJ Cup field custom stat model. He has the second-highest sand save percentage, which partially explains Lowry’s links prowess.

Also, Lowry is 3rd in Good Drives Gained, 10th in Strokes Gained (SG): Par 4, 2nd in SG: Par 5, and 6th in Scrambling percentage.

Shane Lowry (Kate McShane/Getty Images)

Congaree is a 2nd-shot course so I want a blend of driving distance and accuracy (“Good Drives”) to set up those long approach (APP) shots.

The distance of the course leads to 5% more APP shots than the PGA Tour average being at least 200 yards and Lowry is 10th in Proximity (PROX): 200+ yards.

There are 11 Par 4 holes at Congaree. Three of the five easiest holes on this course are Par 5s and that’s where golfers can score on an otherwise difficult course.

Speaking of which, Congaree is a challenge for even the world’s best. This makes Lowry’s scrambling percentage very appealing and he plays well on difficult courses.

In fact, Lowry is 8th for SG in the CJ Cup field at courses with difficult scoring conditions. Lowry is the 2019 Champion Golfer of the Year and has top-10 finishes in six other majors.

We are getting a good price on Lowry because he underperformed expectations last season and bettors feel burned by him. But, he won the European Tour’s BMW PGA Championship last month and Lowry is at a good buy-low spot.

Go to DraftKings Sportsbook and bet the following Shane Lowry odds:

  • Win: (0.5u: +2200)
  • Top-5: (0.5u: +450)
  • Top-10: (1u: +200)

Cameron Young

Young has the distance and creativity with the driver to get up and down this big course with ease. He overpowered the most famous links golf course in the world, St. Andrews in Scotland, finishing 2nd by one stroke in the 2022 Open Championship.

Also, Young should have the 7th-best odds to win the CJ Cup per my numbers but DraftKings lists him with 10th. He’s 8th across all the key stats I pulled for this event, including 7th in SG: Ball striking and 8th in PROX: 200+.

Cameron Young (Andrew Redington/Getty Images)

Young’s elite ball striking makes him a threat to win any tourney if he knocks down putts. Well, his best putting surface is Bermuda grass and that makes up the greens at Congaree.

Finally, Young is the best golfer in this field without a win but bettors are cold on Young because of his recent struggles. However, Young finished 2nd or 3rd in seven events last season and will get his first victory this season.

Go to DraftKings Sportsbook and bet the following Cameron Young odds:

  • Win: (0.25u: +2800)
  • Top-5: (0.5u: +550)
  • Top-10: (0.75u: +250)

Viktor Hovland

Most of my golf analysis is data-driven but this one is mostly eye test. Hovland is in form and looks like he’s having fun.

For the record, Hovland is my 8th power ranked golfer in this field. He finished 5th in both last week’s ZOZO and last month’s BMW PGA Championship.

But, Hovland’s game just fits this course and he’s 8th in SG at the comp courses used. No rough around the green (ARG) at Congaree removes the biggest weakness of his short-game: Chipping.

Viktor Hovland (Atsushi Tomura/Getty Images)

The talking heads expected Hovland to struggle on a links golf course at the Open Championship. However, rough wasn’t a factor ARG at St. Andrews so he didn’t have to chip it.

Hovland melted down Sunday at The Open but was in the mix because of his iron play and an underrated putter. He is 5th in this field in PROX: 200+ and +1.9 SG: Putting over his last 10 events

The bottom line is I’m higher on Hovland than the market and I’d prefer to be on an island with a golfer than betting the same guy as everyone else.

Go to DraftKings Sportsbook and bet the following Viktor Hovland odds:

  • Win: (0.25u: +2800)
  • Top-5: (0.5u: +550)
  • Top-10: (1.25u: +250)

CJ Cup Head-To-Heads

Rory McIlroy (-130) vs. Jon Rahm

This isn’t a hot take but McIlroy is the best player in the world at the moment and 1st for SG in the world over the last five events (according to DataGolf.com) with Rahm right behind him.

McIlroy leads the field in SG at no-cut events, SG: Tee-to-Green at courses longer than 7,200 yards, SG at comp courses to Congaree, SG: Par 4 and Par 5.

Jon Rahm and Rory McIlroy (Andrew Redington/Getty Images)

However, I’m fading Rahm in this event because of all the bunkers at Congaree. McIlroy is 10th in Sand Save percentage and Rahm is 73rd over the last 50 rounds.

Also, Rahm has lost strokes with his irons in his last five PGA Tour events (-0.9 SG: APP) while McIlroy is +3.2 SG: APP over that span.

Since Congaree is a 2nd-shot course lined with sand traps, McIlroy (-130) vs. Rahm in the CJ Cup is relatively cheap.

Emiliano Grillo (+100) vs. Maverick McNealy

Per my numbers, Grillo is the 13th-best golfer in the CJ Cup field and McNealy is 39th. Grillo outranks McNealy across my key stat model (18th vs. 57th) and has more SG at courses longer than 7,200 yards.

He is 1st in PROX: 200+ and 4th in Good Drives in this field whereas McNealy is 46th in PROX: 200+ and 64th in Good Drives out of 78 golfers.

Lastly, Grillo is playing much better than McNealy. He is 15th in the CJ Cup field in SG over the last 24 rounds and McNealy is 29th. Grillo has finished higher than McNealy in several recent events such as the ZOZO, Fortinet Championship, and 3M Open.

Final Bet Slip

  • Shane Lowry: Win, Top-5 & Top-10 (2u)
  • Cameron Young: Win, Top-5 & Top-10 (1.5u)
  • Viktor Hovland: Win, Top-5 & Top-10 (1.5u)
  • Emiliano Grillo (+100) > Maverick McNealy (1.25u)
  • Rory McIlroy (-130) > Jon Rahm

ZOZO Championship Recap (+5.625u)

Win & Picks To Place

  • Keegan Bradley: Win, Top-5 & Top-10 (+9.25u)🥇
  • Sungjae Im (T29): Win, Top-5 & Top-10 (-2.25u)❌
  • Mito Pereira (T45): Win, Top-5 & Top-10 (-1.375u)❌

H2Hs

  • Collin Morikawa (-120) > Viktor Hovland (-1.25u)❌
  • Sebastian Munoz (-110) > Davis Riley (+1.25u)✅

FOLLOW GEOFF ON TWITTER: @Geoffery_Clark

Listen to the ‘OutKick Bets with Geoff Clark’ podcast HERE.


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Written by Geoff Clark

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