CJ Cup in South Carolina picks 2022: It feels like it's Jordan Spieth time at Congaree
The Fall Swing has not been kind to us so far. Key words: so far. We’re not getting discouraged and nor should you, not on a week like this, with six of the top 10 players in the Official World Golf Ranking will descend upon Congaree Golf Club for the CJ Cup in South Carolina. It’s not quite a “divert your full attention away from football” week, but it’s pretty damn close.
It couldn’t come at a better time, as these peak weeks on the PGA Tour are generally where our experts do some of their best work. Not surprisingly, with all the top names in the field, there is no consensus play, though three of our handicappers are eyeing a three-time major winner who may have recaptured some magic on the greens at the Presidents Cup.
Scroll down to see who we like this week at the 2022 CJ Cup in South Carolina.
CJ Cup in South Carolina picks 2022: Our Experts’ Outright Predictions
Anonymous Caddie Picker of the week: Cameron Young (30-1, Bet365) — A short field with a course that encourages aggressive lines and bombing it out as far as you can would be a perfect place for Young’s maiden victory.
Pat Mayo, DraftKings/Fantasy National, Mayo Media Network analyst: Collin Morikawa (28-1, DraftKings) — This is a blind wager whenever he drops to this price range. At a course where the shorter hitters will get more distance off the tee, accuracy and long irons will provide a distinct advantage. The travel from Japan may be worrisome, but I’m just glad he got a few competitive rounds under his belt.
Brandon Gdula, FanDuel/numberFire managing editor: Scottie Scheffler (12-1, FanDuel) — Scheffler has the length and overall ball-striking to play Congaree well. The fast-and-firm setup with wide fairways should help the longer hitters separate from the rest of the field, and my simulation model shows value on Scheffler near the top of the board.
Rick Gehman, data scientist and RickRunGood.com founder: Jordan Spieth (28-1, BetMGM) — Spieth is one of the most fun golfers to bet, depending on your definition of fun. Will he make a few silly mistakes? Absolutely. If you zoom out, you’ll realize that Spieth has five top 10s in his past 12 starts, which include a win at the RBC Heritage and a 5-0-0 record at the Presidents Cup. Congaree will challenge this field and reward creativity, which Spieth has in abundance.
Stephen Hennessey, Golf Digest dep. managing editor: Jordan Spieth (28-1, BetMGM) — I had a chance to play Congaree recently with one of Spieth’s former college teammates. As we were going out, analyzing whose game really suits the course, we kept saying how much Spieth’s creativity and shot-making could really flourish at Congaree. The width off the tee will help keep Spieth out of trouble, and the options for shots to hit into these really interesting, undulating greens play to Spieth’s creative side. If Spieth’s putter from Quail Hollow shows up here, he might win by three or more.
Christopher Powers, Golf Digest assistant editor: Jordan Spieth (28-1, BetMGM) — As Rick pointed out already, the recent form has been great, and the putter came ALL the way back at Quail Hollow, where Spieth won every possible point he could at the Presidents Cup. Add in the fact that he’s already said he loves the course after seeing only nine holes of it, and it’s impossible to pass up on the three-time major winner at this number.
Lee Alldrick, FanShare Sports: Rory McIlroy (+700, FanDuel) — McIlroy comes into this event head and shoulders above his next nearest contender stats-wise, so he’s a worthy favorite. He ranks eighth for SG/total and first for Opportunities Gained over the past two months. He also ranks third for SG/total over the last two years and first for SG/total on similar courses.
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CJ Cup in South Carolina picks 2022: Sleepers/Dark Horses Who Could Win
Caddie: Andrew Putnam (100-1, FanDuel) — I’m amazed at this number. Putnam’s quietly playing some of the best golf out of anyone right now—coming off a T-12 in Vegas and a T-2 at the Zozo.
Mayo: Tyrrell Hatton (35-1, DraftKings) — He was second in this event in 2021, and that’s only because he couldn’t make a putt all week. He’s been quietly playing very well in Europe since the PGA Tour season ended, and he just needs to replicate his 2021 performance and keep rolling it like he has the last month for a dark-horse run.
Gdula: Taylor Montgomery (50-1, FanDuel) — I’m not big on longshots in no-cut events because no-cut events feature less volatility and tend to be won by the best in the field. That said, Montgomery is a plus off the tee and is shaping up as an elite putter as the sample grows.
Gehman: S.H. Kim (150-1, DraftKings) — Kim is technically in this field based on his OWGR ranking as one of the top three Korean players not otherwise exempt—joining Sanghyun Park and Byeong Hun An. Kim is proving that he’s dangerous across the globe, gaining at least 7.5 strokes to the field in four of his past five starts, per the RickRunGood.com golf database. His worst result during that stretch was a T-36 at the Fortinet and he’s coming off a T-4 in Las Vegas. He has plenty of talent to keep those results coming.
Hennessey, Golf Digest: Brian Harman (75-1, FanDuel) — To me, ball-striking and short game will be crucial around Congaree. Outside of Scottie Scheffler, Justin Thomas and Cam Davis, Harman is the only player in this field to be top-12 in both SG/tee to green and SG/around the greens over the past 24 rounds, per Fantasy National. And Harman’s at his best on Bermuda greens, so I think Harman will feel at home here and have a chance to threaten for a W.
Powers, Golf Digest: Davis Riley (125-1, Caesars Sportsbook) — Riley was everybody’s guy these first few fall-swing events, and at numbers like 40- and 45-1. Now you’re all jumping off when he’s triple diggies? For shame. I’ll buy that dip all day, especially after he went 67-68 to finish the weekend at Zozo. Congaree, with its Bermuda putting surfaces and its premium on accuracy with your irons, should be right up Riley’s alley.
Alldrick, FanShare Sports: Corey Conners (65-1, DraftKings) — Conners comes into this event ranked seventh in the field for SG/total over the past two years, so he has solid long-term form. His short-term form is good also, ranking 15th in the field for Opportunities Gained over the past two months. This has resulted in six top-30 finishes in his last seven events, which includes a fifth. The Canadian also ranks 10th in the field this week for SG/total at similar courses.
CJ Cup in South Carolina picks 2022: Players We’re Fading
Caddie: Max Homa (16-1, DraftKings) — Nothing against Max, but this is a really short number with such a top-heavy field of elite players. Max belongs in that conversation, but at this number he’s tough to justify.
Mayo: Sam Burns (28-1, DraftKings) — It’s never fun fading someone who wins so often, but he just hasn’t been running near peak performance since early summer, and we’re still paying a premium for him in a loaded field.
Gdula: Tom Kim (26-1, FanDuel) — I can make a case for a lot of the favorites this week and wouldn’t outright advocate for fading many, but I’m out on Tom Kim around the same odds as Sungjae, Fitzpatrick, Hovland, Spieth and Burns at a course that rewards distance and in a field that’s as stacked as this one.
Gehman: Sam Burns (28-1, DraftKings) — Burns is a phenomenal player with plenty of star power, but his stat profile is concerning at the moment. We’ve seen a decay of his driving ability, now losing strokes off-the-tee in five of his past eight starts, per the RickRunGood.com golf database. Those struggles off the tee are manifesting in big misses, 37 feet from the fairway on average. There’s only a few golfers on tour who are missing as wide as Burns right now, and Congaree Golf Club can punish those misses.
Hennessey, Golf Digest: Scottie Scheffler (11-1, DraftKings) — As Rick pointed out in his DFS column on GolfDigest.com this week, Scheffler has lost strokes off the tee in eight of his past 10 starts, including five straight events. That’s not a recipe for success at Congaree.
Powers, Golf Digest: Viktor Hovland (28-1, DraftKings) — Hov has been on fire of late, but the short game remains a problem, and Congaree features a ton of run-off areas that force you to really think and play a variety of short-game shots around the greens. That’s obviously not his strong suit. He’ll ball-strike his way into contention, but the possibility of a blowup around the greens has me staying away.
Alldrick, FanShare Sports: Matt Fitzpatrick (18-1, DraftKings) — While this course sets up well for Fitzpatrick, his form coming in has been poor. He ranks just 55th in the field for SG/total over the past two months and just 57th for Opportunities Gained over the same period.
Congaree Golf Club
CJ Cup in South Carolina picks 2022: Matchups
Caddie: Adam Hadwin (+100) over Tommy Fleetwood (DraftKings) — Strictly a weather play. Forecast calls for light winds all week, and Hadwin plays well in dome conditions.
Mayo: Taylor Montgomery (-110) over Aaron Wise (DraftKings) — Between the PGA Tour and Korn Ferry Tour, Montgomery hasn’t finished outside the top 15 in any event over the past four months. That’s better than Wise, who may have a better chance to actually win, but with guaranteed four rounds Wise is far more likely to randomly blow up.
Gdula: Sungjae Im (-105) over Tom Kim (FOX Bet) — Even over the past 20 rounds with Tom Kim red hot, Sungjae Im has still been better, and if you scale that back to 50 rounds or 12 months, the gap just widens. Sungjae also played here in 2021.
Gehman: Emiliano Grillo (+100) over Sahith Theegala (Bet365) — There is literally no one hotter than Grillo right now. The “Heat” metric on RickRunGood.com shows that Grillo, in his last 36 rounds, he’s 1.04 strokes better than his 100-round baseline. There is no golfer in the field playing that much better than their own baseline. The newfound putting stroke has led to four top-five finishes in his last eight starts.
Hennessey, Golf Digest: Emiliano Grillo (+100) over Sahith Theegala (Bet365) — Rick’s “Heat” feature on RickRunGood.com makes the case perfectly for Grillo here. Plus, Theegala is one of the least accurate drivers of the ball, and isn’t terribly long, so this is the type of course where he might struggle.
Powers, Golf Digest: Christiaan Bezuidenhout (+105) over Keegan Bradley (DraftKings) — For the second straight week, we’re going against Keegan, which totally worked out at Zozo … NOT. All kidding aside, I like Bez on a course where chipping, and Bermuda putting, are two required skills. He’s also driven the ball much better of late, which is normally his weak spot.
Alldrick, FanShare Sports: Sungjae Im (-110) over Matt Fitzpatrick (Bet365) — Fitzpatrick’s form coming into this event is poor. Im, on the other hand, has excellent form coming into this event. He ranks fifth in the field for SG/total over the last two years and sixth over the last two months.
Matchup Results from the Zozo Championship: Hennessey: 1 for 1 (Kitayama (+100) over K.H. Lee); Alldrick: 1 for 1 (S. Im (+100) over Matsuyama); Caddie: 0 for 1; Gdula: 0 for 1; Gehman: 0 for 1; Powers: 0 for 1
Matchup Results from this season (Wins-Losses-Pushes): Hennessey: 4-0-0 (up 3.8 units); Gehman: 3-1-0 (up 1.65 units); Caddie: 2-2-0 (up 0.1 units); Alldrick: 3-1-0 (up 1.58 units); Powers: 1-3-0 (down 1.95 units); Mayo: 1-2-0 (down 1.1 units); Gdula: 0-3-1 (down 3 units)
CJ Cup in South Carolina picks 2022: Top 10s
Caddie: Brian Harman (+600, FanDuel) — The lefty is coming off one of his best seasons and it’s also a pseudo home game.
Mayo: Jordan Spieth (+200, DraftKings) — Seems like a daunting task at a course with such length, however, Spieth weirdly has the proper game from this layout. If he can tune his driver back up to what he was doing in the summer, his irons and putting can be so good that he could pick up win No. 2 in South Carolina this year.
Gdula: Max Homa (+310, FanDuel) — Homa’s rating out as one of the stronger top-10 values in my model this week. He ranks 22nd in distance over the past 50 rounds, according to datagolf, and he is one of three golfers—along with McIlroy and Rahm—to rank top 17 in SG/ball-striking and short game.
Gehman: Alex Smalley (+800, DraftKings) — Smalley is turning into a serious boom-or-bust option on tour. Over his past 14 starts, he’s earned six top-25 finishes but has off set those with six missed cuts. He’s been rolling the rock, ranked 19th in SG/putting for the new season. He won’t have to worry about missing the cut this week in South Carolina, which should free him up to go low.
Hennessey, Golf Digest: Cameron Davis (+500, FanDuel) — Most of Davis’ stellar results from the fall came against weak fields, but these odds are decent enough to take a chance that game can carry over against the elites. Plus, the Aussie grew up playing courses that should remind him of how Congaree will play—firm and fast and demanding bold shot-making and creativity to navigate from tee to green.
Powers, Golf Digest: Tyrrell Hatton (+275, DraftKings) — Hatton loves these Southern courses, as evidenced by his runner-up finish here in the Palmetto two years ago. He didn’t have the best week at Zozo but did finish strong on Sunday and had previously finished T-11 or better in four of his last eight starts across the PGA and DP World Tours.
Alldrick, FanShare Sports: S.H. Kim (+800, DraftKings) — Kim’s progression since joining the PGA Tour is trending nicely—36th, 13th and then fourth last week. It’s not surprising to see that he ranks fourth in the field for SG/total over the past two months. Though he has not played on enough similar courses to Congaree to garner a Course Suitability Ranking through FanShare this week, Kim is a very good putter on Bermuda greens, so the course should suit.
Top-10 results from the Zozo Championship: Everybody: 0 for 1
Top-10 results from this season: Hennessey: 1 for 4 (up 4 units); Gdula: 1 for 4 (up 1.9 units); Caddie: 1 for 4 (up 1.5 units); Mayo: 1 for 3 (up 2 units); Alldrick: 1 for 4 (up 1 units); Gehman: 0 for 4 (down 4 units); Powers: 0 for 4 (down 4 units)
CJ Cup in South Carolina picks 2022: One and Done
Gehman: Matt Fitzpatrick — Fitzpatrick just snapped his off-the-tee streak, losing strokes in Spain for the first time in 14 events, per the RickRunGood.com golf database. Combine that with stellar play from fairway through green and Fitzpatrick has elevated every aspect of his game to a top level. He’s seemingly getting better every start and there’s no reason to think that’ll stop anytime soon.
Previous weeks: Fortinet Championship: Emiliano Grillo. Sanderson Farms Championship: Sam Burns. Shriners: Taylor Montgomery. Zozo: Sungjae Im.
Hennessey: Sungjae Im — Ball-striking and short game are Sungjae’s game. I was on him last week and he didn’t play well, but the guy loves him some Bermuda greens. Let’s giddy up.
Previous weeks: Fortinet Championship: Cam Davis. Sanderson Farms Championship: Denny McCarthy. Shriners: Emiliano Grillo. Zozo: Hideki Matsuyama.
Powers: Tyrrell Hatton — If you’re worried about jet lag, you might stay away, but Hatton’s history on Southeast courses is extremely good and it feels like he’s due for a victory, his last coming at the Abu Dhabi Championship in January of 2021.
Previous weeks: Fortinet Championship: Sahith Theegala. Sanderson Farms Championship: J.T. Poston. Shriners: Sungjae Im. Zozo: Hideki Matsuyama.
About our experts
Pat Mayo is an award-winning video host and producer of long- and short-form content, owner of the Mayo Media Network and host of The Pat Mayo Experience. (Subscribe for video or audio.) Mayo (@ThePME) was named 2021 Daily Fantasy Writer of the Year by the Fantasy Sports Writing Association, while also being a finalist for Podcast of the Year and Golf Writer of the Year. Mayo won the 2020 FSWA Daily Fantasy Writer of the Year and Golf Writer of the Year awards, along with the Fantasy Sports Trade Association Best Sports Betting Analyst award in 2020. He was finalist for four FSWA Awards in 2020 (Best Podcast, Best Video, Daily Fantasy Writer of the Year, Golf Writer of the Year). Mayo is on the board of governors at www.fantasynational.com.
Brandon Gdula, managing editor and analyst for NumberFire, a FanDuel daily-fantasy analysis company, recently won the 2018 FSWA Golf Writer of the Year. Gdula also co-hosts the DFS Heat Check podcast.
Rick Gehman is the founder of RickRunGood.com and the RickRunGood YouTube Channel, is one of the industry’s leading experts on golf DFS and gambling. Gehman is co-host of the First Cut Podcast and appears regularly on the Pat Mayo Experience golf podcasts. Follow him on Twitter: @RickRunGood.
Lee Alldrick of FanShare Sports started out writing an article highlighting the best bargain plays for fantasy golf under his twitter handle @DKGolfBargains. His success at this prompted FanShare Sports to enlist him as a guest writer, which evolved into him writing the weekly Under The Radar article. As a U.K.-based expert, Alldrick’s insight into European Tour regulars and low priced, low owned plays has provided an invaluable edge for readers when it comes to DFS GPPs.