The PGA Tour will be making its second straight start in Las Vegas this week as it heads out to the Summit Club for a limited field, 78-man event. The CJ Cup used to be held in South Korea, but given the worldwide events of the past couple of years, it has found a new home in Las Vegas, where it is played as the second of two Vegas stops in the fall swing. A smaller field means fewer ways to build unique lineups, so diving into the DFS golf projections and daily fantasy golf ownership will be crucial when building PGA DFS lineups this week on DraftKings and FanDuel.
The Summit Club is a Tom Fazio design that plays at just 7,400 yards as a traditional par 72. The venue is situated in the Las Vegas desert between Red Rock Canyon and the strip but features plenty of lush fairways and vegetation that will likely allow it to play somewhat different from last week’s venue. Last year’s course for the CJ Cup (Shadow Creek) was also designed by Tom Fazio, and like that venue, expect easier-to-hit fairways at Summit Club but also tough greens defended by complex bunkers. Jason Kokrak won by gaining over 10 strokes putting there but was also consistent with his irons and around the green. Expect any winner to dominate either on approach or on and around the greens.
The Summit Club Stats and Info
- Plays as a par 72 at over 7,400 yards — first year the players will be seeing it.
- Past winners at the CJ Cup have typically come in off good results at the PGA Tour playoffs. The last four winners had all recorded a top-10 in the playoffs before winning.
- Three of the four par 5’s measure between 550 and 600 yards, while there are three par 4’s under 400 yards.
The green type will change for the third week in a row, as TPC Summerlin features pure bentgrass greens. These should roll slightly faster than last week given the climate, although there have been some massive putting splits posted by past winners as well. Use caution with these putting splits in fantasy golf picks; they are not the be-all, end-all, but they make for a nice tiebreaker.
Positive Bentgrass Putting Splits, Last 50 Rounds
- Cameron Tringale: +36.8 strokes on bentgrass, +16 strokes on all other surfaces
- Tony Finau: +20 on bentgrass, -3 on all other surfaces
- Justin Rose: +27 on bentgrass, +2 on all other surfaces
+ equals total strokes gained | – equals strokes lost
Negative Bentgrass Putting Splits, Last 50 Rounds
- Branden Grace: -16 on bentgrass, +16 on all other surfaces
- Russell Henley: -24 on bentgrass, +12 on all other surfaces
- Joaquin Niemann: -2 on bentgrass, +21 on all other surfaces
Daily Fantasy Golf Picks & Value Plays: CJ Cup
*Grades are ordered DraftKings, FanDuel. Initial grade indicates a player’s strength of output for the week, with the value grade indicating their strength as a play in relation to their salary.
Rory McIlroy: Grades: A | Values: C
Despite an end to 2021 that saw Rory McIlroy falter to a mediocre finish at the Tour Championship then wilt under the pressure at the Ryder Cup, McIlroy is still a player to pay attention to this week. Besides the obvious motivation of wanting to get the Ryder Cup out of people’s minds, McIlroy’s long-term form looks good heading into this week’s event, which has some elite players in attendance. McIlroy ranks top 10 in both strokes gained off the tee and tee to green over the last 50 rounds, and he will not hate the fact that the course was designed by Fazio, who helped redesign his favorite regular-season stomping ground in Quail Hollow.
He may not win as much as he did early in his career, but McIlroy has always loved these limited-field events and has cleaned up at various WGCs over his career. This would be a heady place for him to get back on track, and it is worth noting that, like each of the past four winners of the CJ Cup, McIlroy was top five in the PGA Tour playoffs. The projections love him this week, as he has the best points projection of anyone in the field and best value score of anyone above $10,000. At the very least, gamers should ignore the heavier ownership and jump on board without trepidation.
- Finishes of fourth and 14th in last two PGA Tour playoff starts; prior to the Tour Championship he had gained two strokes or more off the tee in four straight events.
- Third in the field in birdies over the last 50 rounds.
Projected PGA DFS ownership: DraftKings: 21.3%
Louis Oosthuizen: Grades: B | Values: C, B
In terms of spread of points this week, it is tight at the top of the board with no clear run-away value. Louis Oosthuizen sticks out a bit, though, as he enters with the best point projection of anyone between $9,000 and $9,500 and is also coming off a very solid week at the Shriners where he ended with a round of 68 and gained 2.2 strokes on his approaches. Oosthuizen can be a bit of a putter-reliant player, but his 14th-place finish last week was all ball striking, as he gained 6.2 strokes on the field in ball striking alone and lost strokes putting for the week.
It is not clear how much of advantage playing in Vegas two weeks in a row will be, but if the warm-up event helps, then Oosthuizen is in a good position here. He is 12th in strokes gained tee to green and 10th in DraftKings points over the last 50 rounds, while also ranking top 10 in short game and putting. In short, if his ball striking keeps up, his putter and short game should rebound, making him a solid upside play at this palatable price. He has solid grades all around this week and should be viewed as a solid pick given the increase in ball striking.
- Ranks top 10 in strokes gained putting and short game over the last 50 rounds; only has one finish outside the top 20 in his last 10 PGA Tour starts.
- Has gained strokes on his approaches in 12 straight PGA starts.
Projected PGA DFS ownership: DraftKings: 18.4%
Low-Owned Daily Fantasy Golf GPP Flier
It was bizarre to see Marc Leishman trending this far under 10% in ownership this week. He has landed top-fives in both of his two fall series starts and has seen two of his six career PGA wins come in limited-field, no-cut events. Leishman has been red hot with his putter of late, gaining over seven strokes putting in two straight starts, so perhaps DFS players are just trying to away from the regression that will eventually come. Leishman has always been one of the better spike putters on tour, though, as he can lead the field in that metric any given week. His spikes often last more than one event too, which is why he is a six-time tour winner.
Leishman gained strokes in every metric in the field last week and finished third. His weakness tends to be his off-tee play, which can be wild at times, but Fazio’s larger fairways will likely help in that regard, and it is worth noting that Leishman’s biggest win (2018 BMW Championship) came at Conway Farms, another Fazio design. With ownership trending well under 10% and a game that seems to be building in confidence, he is a good mid-tier play in large GPPs.
Projected PGA DFS ownership: DraftKings: 6.0%
DraftKings Top Three Under 5%
I am targeting three players that will end up under (or close) to 5% ownership in larger DraftKings GPPs. We are searching for boom/bust players with an almost 100% focus on upside.
Tommy Fleetwood ($8,800)
Like Leishman, it does not seem like Tommy Fleetwood is getting much respect for his recent spike in play. He has landed 12th- and seventh-place finishes in his last two events, which were both in Europe. Maybe DFS players are sick of Fleetwood underperforming (which he has for a year now), but he is projecting for even lower ownership than Leishman, so it is a good idea to pay up for that low ownership — especially on a player who has shown solid form in his last two stroke-play events.
Shane Lowry ($8,300)
Some of the European Ryder Cup members may show up to this event in a sour mood and ready to do something to move past their embarrassing defeat at Whistling Straights. Shane Lowry was in good form heading into that event, and — like Fleetwood — he is coming off two solid European Tour starts, which include a fourth at the Old Course last week. Considering he ranks 10th in this field in strokes gained tee to green, Lowry looks underpriced, which makes his lower ownership projection worth taking advantage of.
Harold Varner III ($7,300)
Harold Varner III likely will not get a ton of fanfare this week, as he is not known for showing up in elite events. He has played quite well of late, though, and like last year’s winner Kokrak, he could be ready to make a huge jump this week. Varner ranks top 25 in this field in strokes gained tee to green, strokes gained on approach and DraftKings points over the last 50 rounds. He makes for a nice low-priced pivot that is projecting for under 6% ownership.
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