The PGA TOUR will feature its second no-cut event in a row this week at THE CJ CUP. This event has been held in Las Vegas in each of the past two seasons but will move to South Carolina this year and host venue Congaree Golf Club. The field this week is limited to 78 players and this is a no-cut event, with all players getting in four rounds of play.
While Congaree will be hosting this event for the first time, it’s not the first time we’ve seen it on the PGA TOUR. It acted as the host club in 2021 for the one-off Palmetto Championship, an event that was added to the PGA TOUR schedule that year due to pandemic scheduling issues. Congaree is a long par 71 that measures in at 7,655 yards and features pure Bermudagrass on the greens. The designer is Tom Fazio, who has had a hand in designing other prominent venues like Conway Farms, Caves Valley and last year’s host venue, the Summit Club out in Las Vegas.
Congaree doesn’t challenge players much off the tee. Driving distance and driving accuracy numbers for the week were well above the PGA TOUR averages when the Palmetto was played at Congaree in 2021, and the leaderboard had plenty of shorter hitters in the mix that year. The course does get more difficult as the players get closer to the hole though and the greens at Congaree were difficult to play on and yielded an average three-putt percentage about 10% higher than an average PGA TOUR stop.
Scrambling was also difficult here as players converted saves, on average, around 56% of the time when off the green. That was enough to ensure that the winning score that year was just 11-under par, with only seven players total reaching 10-under par or better. We could see the Fall scheduling this year make the greens more receptive and with an improved field, expect a few more birdies. While you don’t want to discount what players are doing off the tee entirely, Congaree will certainly put more pressure on iron games and short games, so don’t be afraid to roster the shorter hitters if they are trending well in longer approach stats (>175 yards) and around the green. In 2021, both eventual winner Garrick Higgo and runner-up Doc Redman (tied with five other players) finished outside the top 30 in driving distance for the week, while gaining over 4.0 strokes on approach.
Scottie Scheffler ($10,400)
The venue this week certainly calls for a more all-around approach, so who better to go with at the top than the No. 1 player in the world in Scottie Scheffler? Scheffler has proven that he can handle any track, and his mastery of Augusta at such an early age speaks to the idea that he’ll be able to handle the tricky setup of Congaree on his first attempt just fine too. With such easy to hit fairways, he shouldn’t lose out much off the tee to the bombers in the field this week and his approach game and short game have him ranked first in strokes gained tee-to-green stats over the last 50 rounds.
At the Palmetto in 2021, five of the top seven finishers on the week gained over 8.0 strokes tee-to-green alone. Over his last nine starts, Scheffler has gained 7.0 strokes or more tee-to-green on five occasions, so if his putter shows up in any way this week, he’ll almost certainly be in the mix. As just the third most expensive player on DraftKings, taking the discount and starting with Scheffler is a perfect way to begin lineups.
Russell Henley ($7,300)
The field this week is even deeper than we saw in Japan, so diving down into the lower $7K range still offers us plenty of upside for our fantasy golf lineups. Russell Henley comes into this event ranked first in strokes gained approach stats and 12th in around the green stats over the last 50 rounds. While the course is longer, Congaree’s easy to hit fairways won’t put a lot of stress on Henley’s off-the-tee game and will feature plenty of mid-iron approaches which is where he excels.
Rest is also something to consider here too. Henley didn’t make the trip over to Japan last week and has played a light schedule, with just a missed cut at the Sanderson Farms to show on his record for the Fall. He’s finished T25 and T3 at this event the last two seasons though and the switch to the South East (which is where he hails from) and Bermuda greens should both be positive moves for the 33-year-old.
Davis Riley ($6,900)
For our cheaper value, I don’t have any concerns about going back to Davis Riley this week. He never adjusted to the time or course in Japan, ultimately finishing the ZOZO in T67. Somewhat lost in his terrible start to the week though was the fact he ended with rounds of 67-68 on the weekend, which is only a shot worse than what winner Keegan Bradley produced.
Riley is another player who hails from this portion of the United States and should be excited to be playing on Bermuda greens again. He finished a strong T19 at the Sanderson Farms just three weeks ago and the large fairways here should mask his accuracy issues off-the-tee. Considering this is a no-cut event and we won't be hampered too much by a blowup round, Riley has lots of appeal at under $7K on DraftKings this week.
Put your knowledge to the test. Sign up for DraftKings and experience the game inside the game.
I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is wavegoodbye) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and do not constitute a representation that any particular strategy will guarantee success. All customers should use their own skill and judgment in building lineups. I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.