Fantasy Insider: THE CJ CUP @ NINE BRIDGES
October 15, 2019
By Rob Bolton, PGATOUR.COM
Inside the PGA TOUR
THE CJ CUP @ NINE BRIDGES preview
The Asian Swing is upon us. You know what that means. Roster deadlines will fall on Wednesday in the U.S.
THE CJ CUP @ NINE BRIDGES is scheduled to tee off at – are you ready? – 7:00 p.m. ET on Wednesday. That's 4:00 p.m. on the West Coast and 1:00 p.m. in Hawaii. Set an advance reminder for this adventure through time.
The tournament is the first of three in a row contributing to PGA TOUR Fantasy Golf that will not have a cut. Barring a mid-tournament withdrawal or disqualification, all 78 entrants in each event is guaranteed four rounds.
If you're running low on starts for any golfer, the elimination of the fear factor presents the opportunity to invest elsewhere without pause. However, since bonus points are back this season, for most intents and purposes, because there will be little variance between golfers in every round, the decision to target leaderboard finish is greater.
The absence of ShotLink in South Korea, Japan and China also contributes to the reasoning to line up the chalk. In fact, none of the remaining five tournaments in Segment 1 will have ShotLink activated. It'll be used in earnest on the Seaside Course for The RSM Classic, but because the co-hosting Plantation Course isn't lasered, all measured shots on Seaside will not apply to PGA TOUR Fantasy Golf.
As referenced in my preseason full-membership fantasy ranking, THE CJ CUP @ NINE BRIDGES and next week's ZOZO CHAMPIONSHIP reserve space for the top 60 in the 2018-19 FedExCup standings. Not all commit, of course, but it's still interesting to learn how deep into the ranking the tournaments need to go to fill their fields.
As of midday Tuesday, Luke List was the last man in the field at Nine Bridges. He finished 92nd in the FedExCup last season. Believe it or not, his position aligns with the first two editions of the tournament. In 2017, Camilo Villegas was the last man in despite finishing 96th in the 2016-17 FedExCup. Last year, Branden Grace rounded out the field after finishing 88th in the FedExCup in 2017-18.
PGA TOUR Fantasy Golf
My roster for THE CJ CUP @ NINE BRIDGES (in alphabetical order):
Rafa Cabrera Bello
You’ll find my starters in Expert Picks.
Others to consider for each category (in alphabetical order):
Scoring: Collin Morikawa; Kevin Na; Ryan Palmer; Andrew Putnam; Cameron Smith; Jordan Spieth; Matthew Wolff; Gary Woodland
Power Rankings Wild Card
Jason Day … Well, he's done almost nothing to get us excited for his third appearance at Nine Bridges. Because he's finished a respective T11 and T5 in the tournament, only course-history buffs will ignore the fact that he's connected for only one top 20 in the last six months. His best finish in his last five starts is but a T40 at TPC Southwind. If you're keen on keeping expectations high, that has been the narrative as he's scuffled. At best, consider him only fractionally in DFS because you can round out a roster with the confidence that all will contribute.
Jordan Spieth … This is his first appearance on the Asian Swing since the 2015 WGC-HSBC Champions. The promise of 72 holes is most valuable, but the fact that Nine Bridges has ample room to spray it off the tee (not to mention that the fairways are unlikely to run out given how much rain has fallen in recent weeks) and large, soft targets for approaches conjoin for a close second for the 26-year-old. He can work on what ailed him throughout last season during competition. From our vantage point, that his value arguably is at all-time low, this is exactly when you want to hop aboard.
Ian Poulter … With a T15 and a T10 in the first two editions of THE CJ CUP @ NINE BRIDGES, respectively, no one would have griped if the Englishman appeared in the Power Rankings, but he's been too up and down in recent months to warrant that level of confidence. It's not like he's slumped, either. If anything, he's regressed to a familiar pattern of mixing leaderboard crashing with the occasional struggle. Do not hesitate to make room.
Sergio Garcia … Once again, he's flipped a switch from bad to great. Since concluding the PGA TOUR season with a missed cut at THE NORTHERN TRUST that effectively retained his membership privileges as his 15th start of the season, he's gone T23-Win-T7 on the European Tour. Now that we're in a new season and he's debuting at Nine Bridges, he figures to make noise once again.
Byeong Hun An
Charles Howell III
Joaquin Niemann … If you're new to my fantasy contributions, it might seem silly not to endorse everyone in a no-cut event, but gamers are fickle. We're a tough crowd. Despite our preparation, it's not as much due to a what-have-you-done-for-me-lately as it is what-will-you-do-for-me-now. Since winning at The Greenbrier, he's gone T54-MC. It's understandable given the career-defining achievement, but it's also the first time in six months that he's failed to crack the top 40 in consecutive starts, and that was at the tail end of a long stretch without making noise. So, I remain in a wait-and-see mode.
Chez Reavie … He's gone T15-T7 at Nine Bridges and he's turned around his form here before, but since winning the Travelers in June, his only top 25 was a solo eighth at the 30-man TOUR Championship.
Scott Piercy … Curiously performing below expectations for a few months, so his T5 in his debut here last year supports a trap. It's a deep field, so you don't need to reach.
Returning to Competition
Matt Jones … Off to a strange start. Since opening with a T10 at The Greenbrier, he's just 1-for-3 with two withdrawals. The first (at the Sanderson Farms) was due to a sore back. An explanation wasn't released for his early exit in Houston last week. If this is the way it's going to be with the Aussie, even full-season investors need to keep him on a tight leash.
Power Rankings Recap – Houston Open
Power Ranking Golfer Result
1 Henrik Stenson MC
2 Russell Henley T61
3 Daniel Berger MC
4 Brian Harman MC
5 Denny McCarthy T9
6 Keegan Bradley MC
7 Sam Ryder T28
8 Cameron Tringale T13
9 Scottie Scheffler T28
10 Richy Werenski MC
11 Lanto Griffin Win
12 Luke List T28
13 Brian Gay T42
14 Pat Perez DNP
15 Bud Cauley T9
Wild Card Kevin Chappell MC
Sleepers Recap – Houston Open
Doc Redman T13
Zach Sucher MC
Michael Thompson MC
Peter Uihlein MC
Xinjun Zhang T4
Birthdays among active golfers on the PGA TOUR
October 15 … none
October 16 … Ryan Blaum (36)
October 17 … Ernie Els (50)
October 18 … Todd Hamilton (54)
October 19 … Louis Oosthuizen (37)
October 20 … none
October 21 … none