The PGA Tour continues on its fall swing as they head to South Carolina to play at the ‘Congaree Golf Club’ for just the second time, having last teed off there at the Palmetto Championship in June of the 2021 season. The CJ Cup will be played on a new course for the fourth consecutive year after hosting its first three events at ‘Nine Bridges’ in South Korea, followed by events at Shadow Creek and The Summit Club post-pandemic.
After a few weeks of the Tour putting out some relatively weaker fields, the CJ Cup will feature 17 OWGR top-25 players in a limited 78-golfer, no-cut style event.
A Look into ‘Congaree Golf Club’
Congaree Golf Club was first established in 2018 in Gillisonville, South Carolina, and is a private club ranking as a top-40 golf course in the entire United States. At 7655 yards, Congaree is one of the longer courses on the PGA Tour schedule. The private club is a Tom Fazio-design, and plays as a par-71 that features three par-5s, three par-4s, and four par-3s. The course is pretty unique in the sense that there are very minimal rough areas, and its fairways are wider than any other course hosted by the PGA Tour.
On both the fairways and its bermudagrass greens, it plays extremely firm and fast. While the course favors longer-hitters considering how long it is in stature, there have been a number of golfers who don't excel on driving distance off-the-tee, yet have been able to find success at Congaree because of the long rollout that results from its compressed fairways. To make up for the lack of rough areas throughout the course, it features a wide array of bunkers and a number of other hazards surrounding both the fairways and greens. The ‘Congaree Golf Club’ has often been compared to: Kiawah Island, Southern Hills, TPC Craig Ranch, and Shadow Creek due to its firm stature and excessive number of bunkers.
Ideal Golfer Profile & Key Stats
Due to its length that consists of three par-5s measuring over 580 yards and three par-4s measuring over 500 yards, bombers thrive at Congaree Golf Club. In addition to being long off-the-tee, three of the four par-3’s measure over 195 yards which creates a number of approach shots from over 200 yards. That said, players who excel with long-irons and that are great on approach should set up very well at the CJ Cup this week.
At the ‘Palmetto Championship’ in 2021, which was the last Tour event played at Congaree, there were 12 holes that featured a scoring average above par, which is why bogey avoidance and scrambling are both vital attributes to the type of golfer that should find success this week. In addition to excelling in driving distance and with long-irons on approach, having a great short game around-the-green is certainly another key component. While there are minimal long grass rough areas, the majority of the holes feature greenside bunkers which definitely places emphasis on golfers who are able to get up-and-down from the sand to save par. Withstanding, the most prominent key stats to finding success here are: ‘SG: APP’, ‘SG: OTT’, ‘SG: ARG’, Driving Distance, and ‘SG: T2G’.
Who Sets up Well this Week at Congaree Golf Club?
In spite of his performance last week at the ‘ZoZo Championship’ where he finished 53rd whilst losing strokes on approach and on a number of other statistical categories, it was his first event of the 2023 PGA Tour season which makes it easier to look past his poor performance and as they say, he was “shaking off the rust”.
On a course that rewards distance off-the-tee more than any other track on Tour, there are not many golfers in the world I would favor over Young for that reason. In his 2022 PGA Tour debut which resulted in him winning “Rookie of the Year”, Cam Young ranked in the top-20 on Tour in both strokes gained off-the-tee (SG: OTT) and tee-to-green (SG: T2G). On average, Young drove the ball further than any other golfer on Tour over the course of the 2022 season. Not only did he thrive relative to his driving of the golf ball, but he also gained strokes in nearly every other statistical metric, including on Approach (SG: APP), and also around-the-green (SG: ARG).
The former-Demon Deacon may be the best golfer on the entire PGA Tour who has yet to add a victory to his resume. After his former Wake Forest teammate Will Zalatoris capped off a tremendous rookie season with a victory at the ‘St. Jude Invitational’, it would not surprise me in the slightest if Young followed suit. Given his ability to blast the golf ball creating an enormous number of birdie-making opportunities, if Cam Young is able to play well enough with the flat-stick at least to the extent where he's not losing multiple strokes on the green over the course of four rounds, he could certainly be in the mix on Sunday. At Draftkings Sportsbook, you can lock in bets on Cam Young 3-ways.
Wager ⇒ Cam Young: Outright (+3000), Top-10 (+260), Top-20 (+105)
Not much explanation is necessary when backing the Spaniard at the CJ Cup this week. In spite of an overall disappointing 2022 season in a year where most people expected him to cement himself as the best golfer on the planet, I fully expect Jon Rahm to make good on all of these high expectations by having an unbelievable year.
Rahm enters the fall swing with some momentum as he is coming off a first-place finish at the ‘Open de Espana’ and a runner-up at the ‘BMW PGA Championship’. He comes in to play the CJ Cup this week with some momentum, and I believe he sets up extremely well at Congaree Golf Club. At DraftKings, you can back Jon Rahm to finish inside the Top-10 at -110, and to win the CJ Cup at +850.
Wager⇒ Jon Rahm ‘to WIN CJ CUP’ (+850) & Top-10 (-110)
Matt Fitzpatrick enters this week’s ‘CJ Cup’ having just returned from a number of other events on the European Tour where he finished T-22, T-42, runner-up at the Italian Open, followed by his most recent missed cut at Andalucia Masters. While he's struggled overseas in recent weeks, his most recent performances in the United States have been a T-10, T-15, T-5, all on top of another top-10 finish in his sole appearance at Congaree GC at the 2021 Palmetto Championship. Fitzy’s well-rounded game sets up extremely well this week at the Congaree Golf Club.
After an unbelievable 2022 PGA Tour season where he secured his first victory on US Soil on the grandest of stages at the US Open, in addition to recording 12 more top-15 finishes over the course of the season. In the process, Fitzpatrick excelled in every single statistical category, most notably gaining on average 0.7 strokes off-the-tee (SG: OTT), 0.47 strokes around-the-green (SG: ARG), and 1.22 strokes tee-to-green (SG: T2G). His ability to absolutely crush the golf ball, while also remaining extremely accurate in the process should fare very well especially with these firm, fast fairways featured at Congaree GC.
Given his ability to thrive off-the-tee while consistently finding the fairway leading to an excess of birdie-making opportunities , his prowess with long-irons, and his ability to get up-and-down to save par, I expect Matt Fitzpatrick to have an excellent week at the CJ Cup in the first event of his fall swing. At FanDuel, you can find Fitzpatrick to finish inside the top 10 this week at +210.
Wager ⇒ Matt Fitzpatrick Top-10 (+210)
The 20-year-old Korean sensation needs no introduction after his unbelievable performance for Team International at the President’s Cup, followed by a victory at the ‘Shriners Children’s Open’ where he finished four rounds with 24 birdies and not a single bogey. Joohyung AKA Tom Kim’s first-place finish in Las Vegas at TPC Summerlin marked the second victory of his short career, making him the second player in PGA Tour history to record two wins before the age of 21. In fact, Tom Kim actually achieved this feat in a shorter time than none other than the best golfer of all-time, Tiger Woods.
In a week that should reward golfer’s with an extremely well-rounded skill set, Tom Kim certainly fits the mold of a player who should find substantial success this week at the CJ Cup. While he's not particularly long off-the-tee, the extended roll out that results from the firm and extremely fast fairways at Congaree Golf Club should be sufficient on top of the other profound areas of his game. Likewise to Fitzpatrick, Kim has been gaining strokes in every single strokes-gained metric, most notably on Approach (SG: APP) and tee-to-green (SG: T2G).
Over his last 24 rounds, Joohyung is gaining more strokes on Approach than any single other golfer, and given his ability to excel on Bermudagrass while also consistently being able to save par (Bogey Avoidance), he is as good of a bet as any to continue his hot streak with another top-10 finish at the CJ Cup this week. At Bet MGM, you can bet on Tom Kim to finish inside the Top-20 at +110, and inside the Top-10 at +250.
Wager ⇒ Tom Kim T10 (+250) & T20 (+110)
In two of the three events played by the 24-year old Theegala through the fall swing, he has put himself into contention with a chance at winning on Sunday. After an extremely impressive rookie season where he had four top-7 finishes, Sahith began his fall swing by finishing sixth at the ‘Fortinet Championship’, followed by his most recent fifth-place finish this past week at the ‘Zozo Championship’. He is really starting to cement himself as one of the best young golfers in the world, and I expect his hot streak to continue into this week at the ‘CJ Cup’.
While Theegala has been known to be pretty volatile off-the-tee, often missing the fairway, the Congaree Golf Club features extremely wide fairways which should certainly minimize that flaw in his game. Theegala is another player with a very well-rounded stat profile, largely gaining over a number of efficiency metrics. Over his last 36 rounds, Sahith ranks top-15 on Tour in strokes gained tee-to-green (SG: T2G), while also gaining on approach (SG: APP), around-the-green (SG: ARG), and with the flatstick (SG: PUTT). Theegala’s versatile, multi-faceted game makes him a great value bet to remain scorching hot, and to potentially get his first victory on the PGA Tour. Sahith is currently available to win at Congaree GC at +5500 at Ceasar’s Sportsbook.
Wager ⇒ Sahith Theegala ‘to WIN CJ Cup’ (+5500)