We are back on US soil this week for the CJ Cup, held at Congaree Golf Club in South Carolina due to the pandemic stopping them from hosting it in South Korea as it was for the first few editions of the event.
It is a very strong field this week with 15 of the world’s top 20 in attendance and the course set up could give this a bit of a major feel.
It is only the second time that an event has been hosted here and of the players teeing it up in this restricted field event, Tyrell Hatton, Matt Fitzpatrick and David Lipsky were the only ones to finish in the top 10.
It is no surprise to see the two Englishman on that list. Both have shown great ability on links style courses and that is what we have here. It will be hard and fast and US Open Champion Fitzpatrick should feel right at home. 22/1 is a more than reasonable price for a player who has been in very good form of late. Length off the tee will be a big advantage here and his gains in that area have been well documented. He has a great chance of picking up his second PGA Tour victory this week.
The other player mentioned is one that has a game that should really suit here as well. Hatton has been playing pretty solid golf with two top 10s in his past three starts and if he can putt as well this week as he can at times, then he is going to contend. He can often lose his temper when things are not going his way but it is also that temperament that means he can contend in this type of field. He has a lot of belief in his ability and he has won some very big events around the world. This tournament has more prize money than any other left on the 2022 PGA Tour calendar, so winning here would be right up there with his win at the Arnold Palmer Invitational.
Rory McIlroy has been racking up the high finishes of late. He has four straight top four finishes, including one win at the Tour Championship. His links game can often be overrated because of where he grew up – his game is very much one that suits the American style of courses these days – but this is not exactly St Andrews or Royal Lytham, even if it is in that style. He can win anywhere and with the form he has shown since August he is rightly favourite heading into this one. 7/1 is of course on the short side, but he is a worthy market leader.
Jon Rahm has had a fairly quiet 2022 by his own very high standards, but over in Europe he has started to turn it around. A good finish at Wentworth was followed by an emphatic win at the Spanish Open. He has actually played some good golf despite his results not being where he would want them to be. Through much of the season he was right up there in a lot of key statistics but just could not get the bit of luck or put it all together for whatever reason. It may be evening out now and 9/1 could be very tempting for a player that is likely to love this layout.
Rickie Fowler has been trending in the right direction since he made some big switches in his game. He moved back to his old coach Butch Harmon and completely changed his irons and the results have been startling. He has almost as many FedEx Cup points through three starts this season as he did for the whole of the 2020/21 season. He went so close to ending his drought last week but came up just short in Japan. But we have been backing him since that switch to Harmon and we will carry on doing so a lot this season. He is playing great golf and is so close to that form that saw him move to the very top of the game. In a small field, outsiders are hard to find but 66/1 for a player that is playing as strongly as he is right now is a great find.