The First Look: THE CJ CUP @ NINE BRIDGES
October 11, 2019
By Adam Stanley, PGATOUR.COM
Brooks Koepka wins at THE CJ CUP
The PGA TOUR heads to Korea next week for the third edition of THE CJ CUP @ NINE BRIDGES, the first of three events in a row in Asia.
Brooks Koepka returns to defend at the limited-field event, along with first-year winner Justin Thomas. Jordan Spieth makes his 2019-20 PGA TOUR debut while Phil Mickelson will play in his first CJ CUP.
FIELD NOTES: Seventy-eight players will compete next week at the Nine Bridges Golf Club on Jeju Island, including no less than a dozen Korean players are scheduled to play, and that total will likely be more once the full field is set. They're led by reigning PGA TOUR Rookie of the Year Sungjae Im… Jordan Spieth will make his 2019-20 TOUR debut. The 2015 FedExCup champion finished 44th in the FedExCup standings last season… Justin Thomas, who won the inaugural CJ CUP, returns to action… Eight players who are confirmed participants of this year’s Presidents Cup (including five from the International side) will be in the field… Rookie star Viktor Hovland tees it up for the first time since a T10 at A Military Tribute at The Greenbrier… Defending champion Brooks Koepka’s brother, Chase Koepka, fresh off competing at the First Stage of the Korn Ferry Tour Q-School Qualifying Tournament, is in the field on a sponsor’s exemption. Chase and Brooks also played together at the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open where the younger Koepka finished 67th (big-brother Brooks missed the cut)… Patrick Reed, who finished ninth in the FedExCup standings last season, will make his 2019-20 TOUR debut.
FEDEXCUP: Winner receives 500 FedExCup points.
COURSE: The Club at Nine Bridges, 7,196 yards, par 72. The club opened in 2001 and quickly became one of the first South Korean venues on the LPGA Tour. It has played host to the PGA TOUR since 2017. Ironically, the course only has eight actual bridges.
STORYLINES: The CJ CUP @ NINE BRIDGES is the first tournament on the PGA TOUR’s Asia swing. The TOUR then heads to Japan for the inaugural ZOZO Championship, followed by the WGC-HSBC Champions in China… Jordan Spieth hasn’t played on the PGA TOUR since The BMW Championship, but will be making his season debut. Spieth had only four top-10 finishes last year, but all four came in his final 10 tournaments. He hasn’t won on TOUR since 2017… Sung Kang was the last South Korean to win on the PGA TOUR. Kang captured the AT&T Byron Nelson last season.
72-HOLE RECORD: 267, Brooks Koepka (2018)
18-HOLE RECORD: 62, Ryan Palmer (Fourth round, 2018)
LAST TIME: Despite a sizzling, course-record 62 by Ryan Palmer in the final round, Brooks Koepka managed to hang on to win the CJ CUP by four shots. Koepka, who would go on to win twice more last season, shot an 8-under 64 in the final round. Gary Woodland finished runner-up after a 9-under 63 to close out the championship. Woodland, who was five shots behind to start the day, pulled even after going 6-under through his first seven holes, but Koepka caught fire on the back nine and put some distance between him at his chasers. An eagle on the par-5 18th highlighted a 7-under 29 for his final nine. Palmer ended up T3 alongside Rafa Cabrera Bello.
HOW TO FOLLOW
Television: Wednesday-Saturday (ending Sunday), 10 p.m.-2 a.m. ET (Golf Channel).
PGA TOUR LIVE: None.