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Thomas and Koepka Battling to Be World #1 at 2018 CJ Cup @ Nine Bridges

Michael Harrison

by Michael Harrison in Golf

Updated Mar 31, 2020 · 12:06 PM PDT

Justin Thomas
Justin Thomas has nine PGA Tour wins since turning pro in 2013. (Photo by Michael Wade/Icon Sportswire)
  • Justin Thomas is the favorite to defend his title at the CJ Cup
  • Both Thomas and three-time major champ Brooks Koepka could ascend to top spot in the world with a victory
  • The golfers with the best value to emerge victorious

Justin Thomas brings top form into the CJ Cup @ Nine Bridges looking to defend his crown in South Korea and pick up his 10th PGA Tour title.

Fellow Ryder Cup teammate Brooks Koepka also headlines the star-studded field, with both having an opportunity to reach world number one with a victory.

This is just the second installment of this event so there is minimal course history to drawn upon when searching for value.

Odds to Win 2018 CJ Cup @ Nine Bridges

Player Odds to win 2018 CJ Cup @ Nine Bridges
Justin Thomas +600
Brooks Koepka +900
Jason Day +1400
Hideki Matsuyama +1400
Marc Leishman +1400
Paul Casey +2200
Tyrrell Hatton +2500
Billy Horschel +2800
Gary Woodland +2800
Cameron Smith +2800

*Follow the link in the table to see all options

Thomas and Koepka in a Heated Battle to Reach Top Spot in World

Thomas is attempting to get back to the top spot in the world while Koepka, despite winning three majors in the last two years, hasn’t been higher than second in the rankings in his career. First, the obvious – they are both supremely talented golfers who are a force on any course.

Thomas won a thrilling playoff in the inaugural edition of the CJ Cup last year against last week’s winner Marc Leishman so there’s absolutely zero reason to suggest he couldn’t win again having posted six top 15’s in his last seven starts.

Justin Thomas’ Career Results as Defending Champion

Year Tournament Result
2016 CIMB Classic 1
2017 CIMB Classic T-17
2018 SBS Tournament of Champions T-22
2018 Sony Open T-14
2018 PGA Championship T-6
2018 Dell Technologies Championship T-24

Will Brooks Koepka lift just his second non-major trophy?

Koepka, meanwhile, still has the strange (but incredible) distinction of only one regular PGA Tour trophy (2015 Phoenix Open) to go with his three major titles (2017, 2018 US Opens, 2018 PGA Championship). It’s only a matter of time that Koepka starts to rack up more tournament victories.

He’s playing this event for the first time coming off three average starts in the FedEx Cup Playoffs (T-12, T-19, T-26.) With a strong field in South Korea, I’d pass on selecting him to add to his trophy case.

CJ Cup @ Nine Bridges Best Value Picks

  1. Sungjae Im (+3300): 20-year old progidy led the Web.Com tour money list from start to finish with two wins and three runner-up finishes. Finished T-4 two weeks ago in first career non-major on PGA Tour and Nine Bridges is his home course.
  2. Shubhankar Sharma (+6600): Won twice on European Tour last season and was 54 hole co-leader last week at CIMB Classic. Also led through three rounds at WGC-Mexico in March so is gaining valuable PGA Tour experience.
  3. Brian Harman (+12500): Tied for fifth here last year to begin the campaign with a stretch of five straight top eight finishes. Struggled mightily at end of season (nothing better than T-48 in last seven starts) which drives his value up to this juicy number.
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