THE CJ CUP 2022 Overview
A new course hosting the CJ Cup this week, not lots of data to get stuck into but as ever we will break down the key stats in order to provide the best chance of success. 78 players will fight it out, over recent years this event has seen the worlds best ball strikers flourish with wins for Rory, JT and Brooks all having success in recent times.
Congaree Golf Club is not your typical golf club it is located in the lowlands of South Carolina. The Tom Fazio-designed course, which opened in 2018, is located on more than 2,000 acres of former rice plantation land with lakes and untamed woodland. It should prove the stiffest challenge of the fall season so far for players.
The famed Australian sandbelt courses are referenced in the architecture, and with any luck after all the recent birdies feasts the course will play fast and firm as designed. With a lot of sand waste areas and little rough, this course is undoubtedly different from your typical Tour stop-off.
Although fairways are generous in width, straying can result in balls crashing into hazards of all shapes and sizes. One thing to note for those tuning in this week, players are allowed to ground their club on address at any time on any sandy stretches at Congaree because they are all considered natural areas. The greens this week are in the main raised from the fairways and have little to no rough surrounding them, meaning lots of run off area which will test the short games of all players teeing it up. Think links like greens and run off areas and that’s what the players will have in front of them.
Let’s break down those key skill sets and reveal those all important outright picks.
Key Skill Sets Required
- SG T2G – A proper test of golf faces the players this week, a long a demanding track with a winning score expected in the mid teens means the T2G game must be firing on all cylinders if you wish to compete. This test of golf requires all the clubs to be working and there is no better indicator than T2G performance both short term and long term.
- SG Off The Tee – With a course playing over 7500 yards as a par 71 it will be imperative to gains strokes off the tee box. Doing that will take pressure of the long approach shots. Looking at the top 5 of the Palmetto Championship in 2021 this track showed the importance of gaining strokes of the tee. 4 of the top 5 ranked in the top 10 off the tee for the week, expect more of the same this week.
- SG Approach play 175+ -The majority of second shots will take place from this distance this week, significantly more than the average at a PGA Tour event. We want players onside who have good long iron games, this test is not for the faint hearted.
- GIR – On a challenging test like this week it makes sense to consider players who are hitting plenty of greens in regulation and therefore giving themselves plenty of outside birdie looks and the chance to roll in plenty of putts. The winner here in 2021 finished 3rd for GIR gained, the runner up 5th for GIR gained. I expect a similar trend this week.
- SG Scrambling – A long course with a high percentage of approach shot over 175 yards out means the greens are missed with regulatory here at Congaree Golf Club. Scrambling well protects the scorecard, and making pars on the difficult holes here is no bad thing. It’s so important to get up and down 70% of the time thought out the week, without doing so puts victory out of reach.
- Putting – Bermudagrass greens facing the players this week and that will be to the liking of many especially the worlds elite like Rory, JT, Speith to name a few who have over 15 combined wins on these surfaces alone. When making your final portfolio this week pay particular attention to those who excel on this grain of grass.