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PGA Tour Picks: CJ Cup at The Summit

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The PGA Tour moves about only 10 minutes away in Las Vegas for the CJ Cup at The Summit Club after Sungjae Im of South Korea put on a stellar performance on Sunday to capture the Shriners Children’s Open at TPC Summerlin.

Even though there was a solid field for the Shriners, this one will be even better as 17 players who competed in the recent Ryder Cup will be on hand for the tournament, which last year was contested at Shadow Creek Golf Club, also in Las Vegas.

From the winning United States team, there will be Justin Thomas, Dustin Johnson, Xander Schauffele, Tony Finau, Harris English, Jordan Spieth, Scottie Scheffler, Collin Morikawa and Brooks Koepka, while from the European side will be Tyrrell Hatton of England, Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland, Viktor Hovland of Norway, Tommy Fleetwood of England, Shane Lowry of Ireland, Paul Casey of England, Sergio Garcia of Spain and Ian Poulter of England.

“It’s nice to sleep in my own bed and to be at Summit,” said Morikawa, who lives in Las Vegas and is a member at The Summit. “It’s kind of unique. I don’t think I’ve ever played a tournament on a home, home course. I’m not sure how I’m really going to go into this week just mentally about that, but I have to remember that this is still a tournament, this is the start of a new season and I’ve got to be ready by Thursday just like every other week.

“There’s a sense of comfort, right? I’m comfortable with a lot of tee shots, I’m comfortable with the approaches, I know where the greens break, I know where to miss the shots, so hopefully we can execute the shots this week. There’s not that sense of urgency to figure out the golf course (early in the week).

“I’m ready.”

Others in the field include Im, Masters champion Hideki Matsuyama of Japan, Jason Day of Australia, Gary Woodland, Marc Leishman of Australia, Justin Rose of England, Rickie Fowler, Adam Scott of Australia, Sam Burns, defending champion Jason Kokrak and young international standouts Minkyu Kim of South Korea, and Rasmus Hojgaard of Denmark.

Only 78 golfers qualified for this limited field event, most of them from the PGA Tour, while star players from the Korean PGA Tour and Asian Tour received sponsor’s exemptions. Because of the number of golfers, there will be no cut.

The CJ Cup was first played in 2017 at Nine Bridges Golf Course on Jeju Island in South Korea, where Thomas defeated Leishman in a playoff. Koepka won the following year and Thomas took home his second title in the event in 2019.

The tournament was moved to Shadow Creek last year because of the Coronavirus pandemic, with Kokrak claiming his first PGA Tour title by two strokes over Schauffele.

Tournament officials hope to move the tournament back to Nine Bridges when Covid-19 travel restrictions and local mandates are eased.

BEST BETS

1. Collin Morikawa, United States – Playing at home after a 3-0-1 performance at the Ryder Cup make the third-ranked Morikawa a threat to claim his sixth PGA Tour victory. He has won twice this year, including the Open Championship at Royal St. George’s, and his two wins in 2020 included the PGA Championship at TPC Harding Park. Tied for 12th in CJ Cup last year.

2. Dustin Johnson, United States – Coming off a 5-0-0 record to lead the U.S. victory in the Ryder Cup, the second-ranked Johnson has a chance to regain the No. 1 spot from Jon Rahm of Spain with a victory in the CJ Cup. DJ has 24 PGA Tour victories, the last coming in the 2020 Masters. He was forced to withdraw from the CJ Cup last year after a positive Covid-19 test.

3. Marc Leishman, Australia – Has gotten off to a fast start in the first two weeks of the new season with a tie for fourth in the Fortinet Championship and a tie for third in the Shriners Children’s Open. Leishman has six PGA Tour victories and 12 as a pro, just missing another when he lost to Justin Thomas in a playoff in the inaugural CJ Cup at Jeju Island in 2017.

4. Justin Thomas, United States – The sixth ranked Thomas has won two of the four CJ Cups that have been contested, in 2017 and 2019 at Jeju Island in South Korea, and he tied for 12th last year at Shadow Creek in Las Vegas. JT claimed his 14th PGA Tour victory earlier this year in the Players Championship. Thomas had a 2-1-1 record to help the U.S. regain the Ryder Cup.

5. Louis Oosthuizen, South Africa – The eighth-ranked Oosthuizen started the season with a tie for 14th in the Shriners Children’s Open, posting four rounds in the 60s. He has won 14 times as a pro, but his only PGA Tour victory came in the 2010 Open Championship at St. Andrews, and he was second four times last season. Has not cracked the top 25 in two starts in the CJ Cup.

6. Xander Schauffele, United States – Won the Olympic Gold Medal in Japan and also posted a 3-1 record to help the United States regain the Ryder Cup. Schauffele didn’t add to his four PGA Tour victories last season, but he came close by finishing second on three occasions. One of those came when he finished two strokes behind Marc Leishman in the CJ Cup at Shadow Creek.

7. Sungjae Im, South Korea – Claimed his second PGA Tour victory and sixth as a pro by four strokes last week in the Shriners Children’s Open by four strokes over Matthew Wolff with a ball-striking clinic, opening with a 62 and closing with a 63. He also tied for 31st in the Fortinet Championship. Im has played in the CJ Cup three times but has not finished in the top 35.

8. Tyrell Hatton, England – Will try to bounce back from a 1-2-1 record in the Ryder Cup, including a singles loss to Justin Thomas. Hatton has 10 times won as a pro, but the only one on the PGA Tour came in the 2020 Arnold Palmer Invitational. Has played in the CJ Cup three times previously, tying for third last year, tying for sixth in 2019 and tying for 14th in 2018.

9. Rory McIlroy, Northern Ireland – Will try to build on his singles victory over Xander Schauffele in the Ryder Cup, when he had a disappointing 1-3 record. McIlroy added to his 28 pro victories, 19 on the PGA Tour, by winning the Wells Fargo Championship for the third time last season. Rory played in the CJ Cup for the first time last year and finished in a tie for 21st.

10. Tony Finau, United States – Posted a 1-2 record in the Ryder Cup, losing his Sunday singles match to Ian Poulter. Finau claimed his second PGA Tour victory last season in The Northern Trust to open the playoffs and also finished second in the Genesis Invitational and the Farmers Insurance Open. Tied for 26th in his only appearance in the CJ Cup in 2017 in South Korea.

OTHER PLAYERS TO WATCH: Brooks Koepka, United States; Shane Lowry, Ireland; Adam Scott, Australia; Sam Burns, United States; Viktor Hovland, Norway; Cameron Smith, Australia; Scottie Scheffler, United States; Abraham Ancer, Mexico; Webb Simpson, United States; Hideki Matsuyama, Japan; Harris English, United States; Patrick Reed, United States.

SLEEPERS

1. Erik van Rooyen, South Africa – Claimed his first PGA Tour victory, and fourth as a pro last year in the opposite field Barracuda Championship. Is making his first appearance in the CJ Cup.

2. Tom Hoge, United States – Two-time winner as a professional tied for 14th last week in the Shriners Children’s Open. Hoge finished T-38 in his only start in the CJ Cup last season.

3. Harry Higgs, United States – Two-time winner on Korn Ferry Tour finished T-4 in 2021 PGA Championship and finished second in the Safeway Open. T-21 in the CJ Cup last season.

4. Keith Mitchell, United States – Trying to regain the form he had when he won 2019 Honda Classic, had T-3 in Wells Fargo, T-4 in Zurich last year. T-14 in 2018 CJ Cup at Nine Bridges.

5. Rasmus Hojgaard, Denmark – The 20-year-old Hojgaard is a three-time winner on European Tour, including 2021 Omega European Masters. Making his first appearance in the CJ Cup.

For first-round tee times, visit https://www.pgatour.com/leaderboard.html



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Pennington of Cal State San Marcos, CS San Bernardino Win at Otter Invitational

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Matt Pennington of Cal State San Marcos captured the individual title and Cal State San Bernardino took home the team championship in the Otter Invitational at Bayonet Golf Course in Seaside.

Pennington, a sophomore from Carlsbad, carded a score of 73-73-67—213, 3-under-par,  while Christopher Colla of Chico State was second at 71-77-69—217, and Barrett Jones of Colorado-Colorado Springs shot 81-70-67—218 to tie for third with Mark Williams of Cal State San Bernardino, who finished at 71-71-76—218.

“Matt played amazing,” said Coach Greg Hutton (pictured right with Pennington) of Cal State San Marcos, whose Cougars finished seventh. “Today’s 67 was outstanding on a tough golf course. I thought he was going to win a tournament this fall, and it was a great way to end the first half of our season.”

Brad Sparrer of Stanislaus State shot 70-78-71—219 to tie for fifth with Jetty Sivongsay of Cal State San Bernardino, who wound up at 75-71-73—219, while Simon Bjorken of Cal State Monterey Bay was seventh at 78-70-72—220.

Tyler Ashman of Chico State shot 75-80-67—222 to tie for eighth with Michael Jura III of Stanislaus State, who finished at 73-76-73—222, and Blake Haake of Colorado-Colorado Springs, who came in at 76-74-72—222.

Griffin Pace led Sonoma State at 81-74-70—225 in a tie for 13th that included Fraser Owenson of Cal State East Bay at 72-79-74—225, and Seung Ho Yoon of Cal State Dominguez Hills at 74-73-78—225.

Luke Dugger of Holy Names in Oakland tied for 17th at 74-78-74—226, while Matt Fry of Domincan in San Rafael shot 75-79-75—229 to wind up in a tie for 27th that included Beau Willett of Academy of Art in San Francisco, who came in at 72-78-79—229.

Cal State San Bernardino claimed the team title with a score of 303-292-294—889, 25-over-par, followed by Colorado-Colorado Springs at 308-294-288—890, while Cal State Monterey Bay totaled 309-292-292—893 to tie for third with Chico State, which finished at 294-307-292—893, and Stanislaus State was fifth at 294-306-296—896.

Western Washington was sixth at 303-298-301—902, followed by Cal State San Marcos at 306-306-293—905, Cal State East Bay at 297-309-310—916, Holy Names at 310-305-305—920, and Sonoma State at 313-308-305—926.

Dominican totaled 316-313-306–935 to finish in a tie for 11th that included Cal State Dominguez Hills, which wound up at 300-313-322—935, while Academy of Art was 14th at 300-317-326—943.

For complete results, visit http://results.golfstat.com/public/leaderboards/gsnav.cfm?pg=team&tid=24193   



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What Kind of Golf Bag Should I Get?

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Cindy Miller

Cindy Miller is a former LPGA Tour Player, a current member of The Legends Tour of the LPGA, a Golf Channel Academy Lead Coach, and 2010 LPGA National Teacher of the Year.

Cindy and her husband, Allen Miller are the only married couple in the world who have competed on all four major tours. The PGA TOUR, the LPGA Tour, The Champions Tour, and The Legends Tour.

As a Certified Behavior, Motivation, and Emotional Intelligence Professional Cindy is a highly sought-after speaker, coach, and corporate trainer. She and Allen teach in Buffalo, New York as well as Orlando, Florida.

Follow Cindy at cindymillerinc.com and on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

See all of Cindy’s WomensGolf.com articles here.


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PGA Tour Picks: Zozo Championship

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The last time Xander Schauffele was in Japan, he left for home with the Olympic Gold Medal in his pocket after winning by one stroke at Kasumigaseki Country Club in Saitama in August.

The 27-year-old Schauffele (pictured), from La Jolla and San Diego State will be back this week as one of the favorites in the Zozo Championship at Accordia Golf Narashino Country Club in Chiba, Japan.

“The fans will be the ones who also sort of make it special or make me relive my good moments,” said the fifth-ranked Schauffele. “I remember the first time we played the Zozo, I was paired with (Justin Thomas) and Rory (McIlroy), and it was like five to eight deep on the first hole and people are going nuts.

“It’s always really cool to get announced on the first tee as the Olympic Gold Medalist and it will be like that for quite some time, which is just nice and I’ll take full advantage of that.”

Schauffele tied for 10th in the 2019 Zozo Championship and then tied for 17th last season when the tournament was moved to Sherwood Country Club in Thousand Oaks because Coronavirus pandemic travel restrictions.

Since his grandparents live in Japan, he has a big following there.

“Everyone’s kind of done the quarantine and travel rules to support me, which is nice, so it’s extra special to return to Japan,” said Schauffele, who went 3-1 to help the United States regain the Ryder Cup in September.

“The people in Japan love golf and it’s always nice to play in front of them, even if it is a limited number. I’m looking forward to it for sure.”

Schauffele, who has four victories on the PGA Tour, didn’t win last season but lost in a playoff to Thomas in his title defense at the Sony Tournament of Championship after also losing to Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland in another title defense at the 2019 WGC-HSBC Champions.

So despite winning the Olympic Gold Medal, he knows he can play better than he did for most of last season, when he finished second three times and third once before tying for 18th in the CJ Cup at Summit last week to start his new season.

“I feel not that I failed on the PGA Tour season, but I didn’t really accomplish what I wanted to,” said Schauffele, who was the 2017 PGA Tour Rookie of the Year. “And I did get worse in certain categories throughout the year. But I was able to step up to the plate in tournaments that don’t count for the PGA TOUR… it’s an interesting feeling.

“I feel like I’ve had success, but then again I missed out on a lot of things that I wanted to accomplish. So, a weird space that I’m in mentally, but overall, I think celebrating the Ryder Cup win with my teammates sort of got me over the edge of feeling like I failed this season.”

Tiger Woods captured the first Zozo Championship by three strokes over home favorite Hideki Matsuyama of Japan in 2019 and Patrick Cantlay of Los Alamitos and UCLA won by one stroke over top-ranked Jon Rahm of Spain and the sixth-ranked Thomas last year at Sherwood, but only Matsuyama has made the trip to Japan this time.

Others in the field include Collin Morikawa of La Canada Flintridge and Cal, Paul Casey of England, Will Zalatoris, Tommy Fleetwood of England, Joaquin Niemann of Chile, Rickie Fowler, Alex Noren of Sweden, Si Woo Kim of South Korea, Keegan Bradley, Jhonattan Vegas of Venezuela and C.T. Pan of Taiwan, who won the Silver Medal at the Olympics in a seven-man playoff.

BEST BETS

1. Colin Morikawa, United States – The third-ranked Morikawa, who won the Open Championship at Royal St. George’s and the WGC-Workday Championship earlier this year among eight finishes in the top 10. He was 3-0-1 in the Ryder Cup and started the new season by finishing second in the CJ Cup @ Summit. Tied for 22nd in Zozo Championship two years ago.

2. Xander Schauffele, United States – The Olympic Gold Medalist in August returns to Japan after starting his new season with a tie for 18th in the CJ Cup @ Summit last week. The fifth-ranked Schauffele didn’t win on the PGA Tour last season but was second three times and third once among eight top-10 results. Tied for 17th in the Zozo last year and tied for 10th in 2019.

3. Hideki Matsuyama, Japan – The reigning Masters champion will be the home favorite after finishing second behind Tiger Woods two years ago in Japan, and he also tied for 28th last year at Sherwood. Matsuyama was second twice last season on the PGA Tour and started this season with a tie for sixth in the Fortinet. Lost out in the Bronze Medal playoff in the Olympic Games.

4. Will Zalatoris, United States – The 2020-21 Rookie of the Year on the PGA Tour tied for 11th in the Fortinet Championship and tied for 14th in the Sanderson Farms Championship to start the new season. Zalatoris had eight top-10 finishes last season, including second in the Masters and a tie for sixth in the 2020 U.S. Open. He will be making his first start in the Zozo.

5. Paul Casey, England – Has won 18 titles around the world, including three on the PGA Tour, and hopes to add Japan to the list of countries where he has claimed a victory. Casey finished in the top 10 on seven occasions and in the top 25 on 10 last season, and tied for 25th in the CJ Cup last week. He tied for 17th in the Zozo two years ago in Japan and tied for 35th last year.

6. Joaquin Niemann, Chile – The 22-year-old Niemann, in addition to winning the 2019 Military Tribute at the Greenbrier, finished second three times last year and has 17 results in the top 10 during his short career. An eight-time winner as a pro, including seven at home in Chile, he tied for 17th in the Zozo last year at Sherwood after tying for 33rd two years ago in Japan.

7. Tommy Fleetwood, England – Although he has won eight times as a pro, Fleetwood has yet to break through on the PGA Tour, but he has been close with  four runner-up finishes. Was a disappointing 0-2-1 in the Ryder Cup after going 4-1 in 2018. Finished in a tie for 22nd in the Zozo two years ago in Japan, but could manage only a tie for 57th last year at Sherwood.

8. Rickie Fowler, United States – After struggling since his fifth PGA Tour victory in the 2019 WM Phoenix Open, Fowler shot 63 in the third round last week to take the lead in the CJ Cup @ Summit, and eventually finished third. His best result last season was a tie for third in the PGA Championship at Kiawah Island. Tied for 57th in his only appearance in the Zozo last year.

9. Alex Noren, Sweden – Finished last season strong with a tie for 16th in the Olympic Games, a tie for fourth in The Northern Trust to open the playoffs and a tie for ninth in the BMW Championship, but didn’t make it to the Tour Championship. An 11-time winner as a pro, he has yet to break through on the PGA Tour. Tied for 17th in his only appearance in the Zozo last year.

10. Si Woo Kim, South Korea – Got off to a fast start in the new season with a tie for eighth in the Sanderson Farms Championship and a tie for 11th in the Fortinet Championship. Kim claimed his third PGA Tour victory last season in the American Express and also lost in a playoff at the Wyndham. Tied for 37th in his only Zozo appearance two years ago in Japan.

OTHER PLAYERS TO WATCH: Keegan Bradley, United States; C.T. Pan, Taiwan; Jhonattan Vegas, Venezuela; Harry Higgs, United States; Cameron Tringale, Untied States; Emiliano Grillo, Argentina; Maverick McNealy, United States; Branden Grace, South Africa; Mackenzie Hughes, Canada; Carlos Ortiz, Mexico.

SLEEPERS

1. Henrik Norlander, Sweden – Two-time winner on the Korn Ferry Tour opened season with a T-4 in Sanderson Farms. T-2 in Farmers was his best result last season. Making his Zozo debut.

2. Robert Streb, United States – Won RSM Classic last year for second PGA Tour victory. Started new season with T-27 in Shriners, T-9 in CJ Cup. Will make first start in the Zozo.

3. Sung Kang, South Korea – Three-time winner as a pro, including the 2019 AT&T Byron Nelson, was T-27 in Shriners, T-32 in the CJ Cup. T-17 in the Zozo two years ago in Japan.

4. Kramer Hickock, United States – Five-time winner on lower tours, lost to Harris English in a playoff at Travelers Championship last season. Hickock is playing in Zozo for the first time.

5. Ryosuke Kinoshita, Japan – A three-time winner on the Japan Golf Tour, he was T-59 in the 2021 Open Championship in his first major appearance. Playing Zozo on sponsors exemption.

For first round tee times, visit https://www.pgatour.com/leaderboard.html



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