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The PGA Tour heads down the street to The Summit Club this week for THE CJ CUP. Making its public debut, the Tom Fazio design will likely yield yet another birdie-fest. With players taking advantage of the par-5’s and numerous scoring opportunities, the name of the game this week is strong ball-striking.
Unfortunately – given The Summit Club is a new venue – we are unable to draw on past editions of the CJ CUP. Sure, there are similarities between Shadow Creek and The Summit Club, as well as numerous Fazio designs, but we’ll be targeting those players riding a bit of form.
As there does not appear to be a ton of nuance to this desert oasis. Relatively straight forward, while there may be some tricky lines here or there, it isn’t anything these guys can’t handle.
With past champions of this event reading Jason Kokrak, Justin Thomas (x2), and Brooks Koepka, this very much takes on the feel of a World Golf Championship. A limited field with no cut, it is highly probable a premiere player makes his way into the winner’s circle by the end of the week.
From a head-to-head matchup standpoint, these events are always a bit tricky. Without the luxury of a cut Friday afternoon, our sweat is carried into the weekend no matter the circumstance. Not wanting to overextend ourselves, we’ll stick with the standard two matchups as we are finding our stride from a full-tournament perspective.
The oddsmakers at PointsBet Sportsbook have priced numerous head-to-head matchups ahead of THE CJ CUP @ SUMMIT. Needing four strong rounds from our selections, we will look to recent history as the baseline of our analysis.
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Head-to-Head Matchups (Odds Via PointsBet):
I went to battle with both of these players last week at the Shriners Children’s Open and while our fade of Kokrak was correct, our backing of Reed was woefully incorrect. Playing in the featured group in the first two rounds, we were able to see Reed’s struggles first-hand. Never have I seen the 31-year-old find such difficulties around a golf course, nevertheless a relatively easy one in TPC Summerlin.
Posting –7.7 Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green, it was the fifth worst performance from a strokes-gained perspective in Reed’s career. This showing continued a poor stretch of golf from last season that saw Reed post –5.0 SG: Tee-to-Green at the Tour Championship and –4.0 SG: Tee-to-Green at the WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational.
Perhaps struggling with his health, the higher altitude, whatever it may be, Reed appears very much off. While he has shown the ability to bounce back off a missed cut in the past, there was nothing to suggest that he will at The Summit Club. Leaving the door open for Scott who happily came through for us with a solid showing last week.
Looking more and more comfortable on the greens, Scott posted +1.3 SG: Putting en route to a T-35 finish. While there were ugly moments mixed in – missing numerous short putts – the key is that the majority of those putts were for birdie. Finding some form with his irons, if he can muster up a similar effort this week, the scoring opportunities will be there for the taking.
I would describe Rose’s season last year as “sneaky good.” Narrowly failing to qualify for the FedEx Cup playoffs, that is not to say the Englishman was unable to produce quality results. With top-10 finishes at The Masters and the PGA Championship, he was in contention in the year’s first two major championships. Back ending those efforts with a strong outing at the Wyndham Championship and Rose carried the momentum to England.
Needing to win the BMW PGA Championship in order to qualify for the European Ryder Cup Team, Rose came close. Closing with a bogey-free 7-under 65 at Wentworth, Rose finished three-strokes behind Billy Horschel in a tie for sixth. While we haven’t seen the 41-year-old since, I am comfortable chancing the run of form continues. With sparkling history at Quail Hollow – three top-5 finishes in his last three appearances – he should find comfort at The Summit Club.
As opposed to Fleetwood who has been unable to get his footing underneath him in the United States. Outside of the Florida swing, the Englishman put together a rather poor effort last season. With his lone top-10 finish coming at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, I am standing my ground and ignoring his success in Europe.
With quality starts at the Italian Open and the Alfred Dunhill Links, we have seen this from Fleetwood in the past. Competing overseas with some regularity, he has not been able to translate it into success here stateside. I will need to see Fleetwood in contention in one of these higher end fields, like two years ago, before jumping back on the bandwagon.
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