His PGA articles have been featured here on RotoCurve for the past year. Ryan is a former PGA professional, so his golf course and player insights are second to none. Ryan is originally from Cleveland, Ohio, but now resides in South Florida with his wife and son.
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This week, players face The Club at Nine Bridges, in Jeju City, South Korea. This is the first time a PGA Tour event has been hosted in Korea, and therefore we don’t have any course history to draw upon. One important note is that we have bentgrass greens, which are not common to this part of the world. Bentgrass surfaces are typically found in the Midwest United States, and I’ll be focusing on players who have played well on that surface in the past.
This course is very unique, and very aesthetically pleasing. It’s a short, par-72 layout that players shouldn’t have much trouble with. Although there’s some danger lurking off-the-tee, there are enough short par-4s and par-5s that scoring should be low. Any time we face a new course, ball-striking is the key. Players who find the most fairways and greens will be my main targets for this event. Although there aren’t any strokes gained statistics from last week’s CIMB Classic, I’ll take a look at greens in regulation, birdie percentage, and scrambling.
As I mentioned, this is a unique event. Like last week, it’s a no-cut, 78-man field, which is going to increase the variance. We have plenty of elite players at the top of this field, so hopefully the leaderboard will be more predictable than last week’s was. In these no-cut events, it’s usually optimal to go with a stars and scrubs roster construction.
The course breakdown is also going to depend heavily on the weather. Last week, rain-soaked days gave the players the ability to lift-clean-and place the ball in the fairways, putting a premium on accuracy. It was also extremely hot, and fatigue was an issue. This week, the weather is forecast to be much cooler, and that usually puts an emphasis on iron play and scrambling. The ball won’t fly as far as it does in warm conditions, so that knocks the bombers down a bit. The par-5s here play short, and three of them will be reachable for every player in the field. The par-4s are also manageable. These factors are all going to favor shorter, more accurate hitters. The only bombers I will target are players like Justin Thomas and Gary Woodland, who also gain strokes on approach shots.
Now, onto my sleeper picks of the week for the CJ Cup.
DraftKings High-End Sleepers
Marc Leishman ($9,900)
It was a career year for Marc Leishman, who won the Arnold Palmer Invitational, the BMW Championship, and nearly the FedEx Cup. He also made the President’s Cup team and played very well all week. Leishman is very consistent, and is accustomed to playing in all parts of the world. He should feel very comfortable in Korea, having played here in the 2015 President’s Cup. The thing I like most about Leishman’s game is that he’s solid all-around. He drives it far, hits solid irons, and is a great scrambler.