BETS ON GOLF: the absolute choices of the CJ Cup

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We have a stacked field this week at the CJ Cup at Congaree Golf Club in South Carolina. For those unfamiliar, Congaree is a Tom Fazio design about 60 miles inland from Hilton Head. Its sandy turf and towering trees give it a bit of a Pinehurst feel, and the expected dry conditions should ensure the course feels firm, as it should. Compelling and challenging design, mixed with lively grass, should make for a fun week. It also leads us to look at shooters who can control their ball as the cream tends to rise to the top when good courses have fire.

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Fifteen of the world’s top 20 (and 23 of the top 30) are in the limited 78-man field at the CJ Cup, and that’s the last time you’ll see most of these guys together until Hawaii in January. So enjoy!

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Here are this week’s picks:

Jordan Speith +2500 up for grabs
Congaree requires more creativity than many courses on the PGA Tour and that instantly makes me lean towards Spieth. The large washout areas around the greens and the lack of roughness on the course mean that many interesting short game shots from tight lies will be required. In his pregame interview, he said his game felt good and he was motivated to make some hay in what he said would likely be his only FedEx Cup event before Kapaulua during the new Year.

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Viktor Hovland earns +2200
We are returning to Hovland for the second week in a row. The world No. 11 is an elite ball striker with a tee-to-green game that rivals anyone. He has also flirted with victory in recent weeks with two T5s in his last three starts, including last week in Japan. Its Achilles heel has been around the greens, but short has shown some improvement, and Congaree offers players more than one way to play shots around the green, both on the ground or in the air, which should to help.

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Matt Fitzpatrick +2200
The US Open champion finished T10 at the one-time Palmetto Championship at Congaree last June, and the Englishman is another creative player who fits well this week. Like Spieth, he has added an element of power to his game that will come in handy on a course that requires you to survive long tough par 4s, while having the creativity to figure out the shorter risk-reward holes. His putting should be an advantage on difficult greens that players are generally unfamiliar with.

Rickie Fowler +6600: Playing well (T2 last week), can he complete the comeback this week?
Cam Davis +7000: Congaree has been compared to the Aussie Sandbelt course, so why not bet an Aussie.
Jason Day +7000: See the two points above and mix them up.

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