CJ Cup 2022 Recap

Media by Associated Press: Rory McIlroy, of Northern Ireland, holds the winning trophy after the final round of the CJ Cup golf tournament Sunday, Oct. 23, 2022, in Ridgeland, S.C.

Critics of the PGA’s fall tour schedule say that Sunday finishes can’t match the excitement levels of an NFL football slate. If you can get Rory McIlroy battling Jon Rahm to start the final 18 holes, most people would say that’s pretty good golf any time of year. 

 

In the end, it was McIlroy who battled back to take the 54-hole lead and finished things off for a one-stroke lead over Kurt Kitayama. In the process, McIlroy not only defended his 2021 CJ Cup win but also returned to the #1 rankings in the OWGR for the first time since the COVID-19 shutdown.

 

Big Weekend for McIlroy

 

What a way to go into defending your CJ Cup Championship and reaching #1 for the ninth time – by bogeying 17 and 18 on Sunday. Luckily McIlroy had built momentum from four birdies in the previous five holes and had built a little cushion over Kitayama. 

 

McIlroy’s win wasn’t didn’t have the huge payout of a Mackenzie Hughes at the Sanderson Farms Championship or Keegan Bradley last week at the ZOZO Championship, but +650 is still a nice payout for McIlroy, who looked like a sure thing going into the weekend. 

 

It’s been a pretty solid stretch for McIlroy, starting with a comeback to beat Scottie Scheffler at the FexEx Cup playoffs. The CJ Cup was his first Tour event of the fall schedule, but he did have three top-four finishes on the DP World Tour recently. 

 

The two things that were most impressive about McIlroy’s win this weekend was that although it was defending his CJ Cup title from a year ago, the venue had also shifted from Las Vegas to South Carolina. Not only that, this was the best field of the season to date, with 15 of the top 20 golfers in the world at this event. 

 

Rahm Couldn’t Hold On, Others Falter 

 

Rahm went into the weekend at +900, right behind McIlroy, and was tied with Kitayama heading into Saturday’s third round. Both Rahm and Kitayama shot 70 on Saturday, which allowed McIlroy to pull ahead and never look back. Rahm shot a 69 on Sunday to finish T4. 

 

Scottie Scheffler had the third-highest odds at +1100, but bettors were staying away from him after some poor play recently. Although it was his first TOUR event of the season, we most recently saw Scheffler getting an F grade for his 0-3-1 mark at the Presidents Cup, which was coming off the heels of the blown lead in the finale of the FedEx Cup playoffs. 

 

Scheffler’s struggles continued with just one round under 70, including a 74 on Saturday that pushed him to a T45 finish. It might be time to call in the sports psychologist because the 2022 Golfer of the Year looks off. 

 

Scheffler wasn’t the only big name that struggled this weekend at Congaree Golf Club. Jordan Speith had a T52, even coming off his undefeated Presidents Cup weekend, while teammate Justin Thomas finished 40th. 

 

Tom Kim stayed red hot with a T11 following his win at the Shriners Children’s Open a couple of weeks ago; also impressive since he was playing in his third straight tournament, including last weekend in Japan at the ZOZO Championship.

 

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