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It’s a short hop – six miles to be exact – from last week’s PGA Tour event at TPC Summerlin to this week’s CJ Cup at The Summit Club.

Two weeks in Vegas can be an awful long time if you go too hard at it but, on first glance, it seemed to benefit those who stayed on last year.

In 2020 this tournament – originally played in South Korea but moved due to the pandemic – was held at Shadow Creek and seven of the top 10 finishers had contested the previous week’s Shriners.

However, it was hardly a case of the two leaderboards matching. Just one of those seven high finishers at the CJ Cup had made the top 25 a week earlier and four had missed the cut.

Jason Kokrak MC
Xander Schauffele DNP
Russell Henley T27
Tyrrell Hatton DNP
Talor Gooch MC
Joaquin Niemann T13
Lanto Griffin MC
Bubba Watson DNP
Sebastian Munoz T27
Harris English MC

You could actually spin this and say playing all four rounds the previous week was a disadvantage as only three of that top 10 got in the full 72.

In addition, this event has a different dynamic too. Only 78 go to post and there is no cut.

The Summit Club opened in 2017 and we haven’t seen it before on the PGA Tour. It’s a 7,431-yard par 72 designed by Tom Fazio and has bentgrass greens.

Although we haven’t seen it before, Collin Morikawa has. He’s a member there and once shot a 62.

That local knowledge certainly worked last year for Jason Kokrak, who revealed during the event at Shadow Creek that he’d played the course over 20 times so had a clear advantage on the field.

That knowledge wasn’t widely known so punters were kicking themselves when he went on to win.

Let’s not make the make mistake with Morikawa.

Even without that course knowledge leg up, it’s been a sensational year for the American following his Open win at Royal St George’s.

And, although a back injury caused a late season dip, I’m genuinely surprised to see a fit and firing Morikawa at 16/1 here given how well he performed in the Ryder Cup – three wins and a half from four matches.

That’s an each-way price that can’t be missed and I can’t really understand why he’s six points bigger than market leaders Dustin Johnson and Justin Thomas and four higher than 12/1 Xander Schauffele.

Vegas resident Morikawa, who was 12th in last year’s CJ Cup at Shadow Creek, won his first PGA Tour event in the state of Nevada when landing the 2019 Barracuda Championship.

I’ll back him to cash in on local advantage – very local in this case – once more.

As noted, playing well in the previous week’s event in Vegas was hardly a requisite so that’s why I’m not too bothered that Maverick McNealy missed the Shriners cut.

Had he shot rounds of 75-76 it might have been a concern but the 25-year-old fired 70-68 and gained strokes off the tee, tee to green and on approach.

Clearly is game is in good shape given that just a couple of weeks earlier McNealy finished runner-up at the Fortinet Championship in California.

In that event, he ranked 4th for Strokes Gained: Tee To Green and was also 1st in Putting Average.

“It was a great week. I learned a lot. I was really proud of my round today,” he said after that second place.

“I’m really proud of my preparation and my work. I think this is a culmination of six months of really hard work and working on the right things.

“I’ve got a great team that helps me improve and figure out what to work on, so that’s a huge confidence boost.”

As well as that recent high, the ace in the hole this week is that McNealy, like Morikawa, is also a member at The Summit.

What’s more, his lowest lap there is a 61 so that will surely give him belief that he can have another big week.

From May to August last season, McNealy enjoyed a seven-tournament streak in which he didn’t finish outside the top 30.

That’s hugely impressive and the Fortinet second place only confirms the idea that this is a young player going places.

I’ll back the Las Vegas local resident at 66/1 (seven each-way places).

With no course form – in tournaments at least – to lean on, sustained current form and Vegas form are obviously good weapons to help us hit the jackpot.

Aaron Wise has both of these after he finished tied eighth at TPC Summerlin last week.

That was his third top 15 in six starts at the Shriners and it included a second-round 62 and a closing 66.

Wise ranked 7th for SG: Tee To Green and that’s the third time in his last four events that he’s made the top 10 in that category.

Once more, Wise is a Vegas resident and although I haven’t found out if he’s played the course before, he’ll be very much in his comfort zone again.

Before last week’s fine show, he was tied 26th at the Sanderson Farms and, prior to that, had ended the 2020/21 campaign with tied 21st at The Northern Trust and tied 17th at the BMW Championship.

In short, his results are impressively consistent and they’re mostly built on solid ball-striking (he was 22nd for BS last season).

Take Wise at 50/1.

For a massive outsider, 200/1 Tom Hoge is something of a Nevada specialist.

In the last few seasons he has a fourth and a sixth in the Barracuda Championship and a seventh at the Shriners. He also made the top 15 back at TPC Summerlin last week.





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