Daily Fantasy Golf Course Primer: THE CJ CUP @ SHADOW CREEK
The PGA Tour has had to handle a variety of changes and updates to his schedule this year, and another is front and center this week with one of the signature Asian Swing events taking place in Las Vegas, Nevada.
While the golfers will miss the beautiful sightlines and the viewers miss out on another glimpse at Jeju Island’s Nine Bridges, both the field and the audience will get a rare treat with the event being hosted at Shadow Creek Golf Course. Shadow Creek is one of the most exclusive courses in America and the site of “The Match” between Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson.
Neither legend is in the field this week, with Mickelson eying another win on the Champions Tour and Woods managing his schedule. The venue has changed, but the field dynamics remain the same, and THE CJ CUP will once again be a no-cut event with a 78-man field composed of some of the top players in the world plus exemptions for Korean-born golfers and Asian Tour Order of Merit members. Brooks Koepka returns to action this week, his first event since the Wyndham Championship. He injured his knee at this event last year and has struggled to get back to good health since then.
The weather this week once again will be hot and sunny as befits the desert, and while it’s a bit early to prognosticate the wind, it’s something to keep an eye on as the week progresses to see if one wave has any benefit.
Let’s dig into the course and see what stats we can use to build our daily fantasy lineups this week.
Course and Tournament Info
Course: Shadow Creek GC
Distance: 7,527 yards
Designed by Tom Fazio, Shadow Creek features tall pine trees lining just about every fairway and boasts one of the most iconic finishing holes in the world in the 529-yard par 5 18th. Aside from the 18th, the par 5s are absolutely mammoths, measuring 571, 581, and 622 yards. The last couple years have shown you really can’t make these holes long enough for today’s professionals, and we can expect plenty of scoring this week. Shadow Creek is not accustomed to tournament conditions and is tailored to Las Vegas high rollers and celebrities — this course should pose little challenge to most of the field.
The Vegas connection with TPC Summerlin can’t be ignored, and two Fazio-designed courses most often seen on Tour are Firestone County Club (former host of the WGC-Bridgestone event that’s been updated to the FedEx-St. Jude event in Memphis) and Quail Hollow Club (Wells Fargo Championship). The two Fazio tracks require excellence with the driver, and Shadow Creek should fit the same.
These stats will be key to success in THE CJ CUP @ SHADOW CREEK.
|Key Stats for THE CJ CUP @ SHADOW CREEK|
|Strokes Gained: Tee to Green|
|Strokes Gained: Approach|
|Birdies or Better Gained|
|Strokes Gained: Par 5s|
|Strokes Gained: Putting (Bentgrass)|
With little in the way of history, we’ll go with the tried and true ball-striking plus scoring profile. Much has been made of the Tour’s supposed rush to copy Bryson DeChambeau and game the distance metrics, but as we saw last week at the Shriners, plenty short hitters can still contend against the likes of DeChambeau and Matthew Wolff. Being closer to the green is better than being farther away, but the second shot is still the money maker. Of the three golfers in the playoff at TPC Summerlin, Wolff was 15th in strokes gained: approach, Austin Cook was 13th, and winner Martin Laird was 7th.
As mentioned above, Shadow Creek needs to be challenging enough to earn distinction as a top course but not so challenging that it becomes inaccessible to the A-listers lucky enough to earn a tee time. We expect plenty of birdies and should lean toward the aggressive iron players this week.
Putting almost always plays a role in deciding the victor — in addition to fire irons last week, the three playoff participants were 19th (Wolff), 21st (Cook), and 27th (Laird) in strokes gained: putting. These greens should not be overly challenging even if the staff does their best to speed them up heading into the tournament, and “easier” greens favor the better putters.
Course History Studs
We don’t have any history at Shadow Creek, but we can run through THE CJ CUP history and quickly see Justin Thomas with two wins and Koepka with the other. Gary Woodland was T3 last year and runner up the year prior, and Cameron Smith boasts finishes of T3, T7, and 3rd.
The course may be different, but the field is the same as could have been expected at Nine Bridges.With a couple top players and a thin back half of the field, it’s no surprise to see elite names at the top.
Mike Rodden is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Mike Rodden also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username mike_rodden. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in his articles are the author’s alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.