This article is part of our Yahoo DFS Golf series.
The CJ Cup at Nine Bridges
Jeju Island, South Korea
The Club at Nine Bridges - Par 72 - 7,196 yards
Field - 78 Entrants
Purse - $9.5M
We're on to leg two of the PGA Tour's Asian Swing as the exotic Jeju Island plays host to the CJ Cup just off the southern coast of Korea's mainland. During the inaugural event in 2017, Justin Thomas defeated Marc Leishman in a playoff after the duo finished 72 holes in just nine-under-par as volatile winds made scoring tough. This led to the Club at Nine Bridges ranking as the fourth-hardest course during the 2017-18 season, though much tamer weather conditions this week featuring a one-club wind should stimulate higher bogey avoidance rates. As for the limited 78-entrant field, nine of the Official World Golf Ranking's top-25 highlight the collection of travelers to the season's third tournament. In 2017 Nine Bridges became the first course in South Korea's history to host a PGA Tour event, validated by its ranking of 23rd in the world by Golf Digest Magazine.
2017 - Justin Thomas
Key Stats to Victory
Par-5 Scoring - Difficult par-3s and par-4s emphasize the importance of taking advantage on scorable par-5s
SG: Putting - Last year's playoff featured Thomas and Leishman, who finished T1 and T4, respectively, in putting average after four rounds
Birdie or Better Percentage - Leishman, Thomas, Luke List, Scott Brown and Cameron Smith all ranked top-8 in birdies made at the 2017 CJ Cup. Nobody in this group finished worse than T5
Driving Distance - Long hitters can swing away on a course that ranked third in terms of easiest fairways to hit last season
Yahoo Value Picks - based on $200 salary cap
Cream of the Crop
Justin Thomas - $48
The defending champion fired an 18-hole record 63 during his first round at last year's edition of the CJ Cup, where he led the field in putting average and finished third in par breaker. Thomas was stellar during his final round at the CIMB Classic, posting an eight-under 64 thanks to seven birdies and an eagle, with just one bogey.
Hideki Matsuyama - $38
Matsuyama carries a bit of additional risk this week after an undisclosed injury forced him to miss the CIMB Classic, but a timely return indicates the issue was only minor. The 22nd-ranked player in the world posted an average finish of 9.5 during the FedExCup Playoffs, which included a T4 at both the TOUR and Dell Technologies Championships. His ball striking and iron play have been exceptional of late.
Marc Leishman - $36
Coming off a dominant victory at the CIMB Classic, Leishman's extremely affordable price is too alluring to ignore this week, particularly since he was the 2017 CJ Cup runner-up. The Aussie showed off his elite skill in windy conditions last year at Nine Bridges, when he led the field in Par-5 scoring and collected the second-most birdies.
Louis Oosthuizen - $32
The South African notched his first top-5 since the Fort Worth Invitational last week in Malaysia, totaling 25 tweeters to just three bogeys and a double. Oosthuizen ranked 31st in SG: OTT and sixth in putting from inside 10 feet on Tour this past season.
Tyrrell Hatton - $31
One of the best values on the board, Hatton was just a stroke short of forcing a playoff during his last start at the Euro Tour's Alfred Dunhill Links Championship, bringing his streak of top-30 finishes to six events. The Englishman is a member of the OWGR's top-25 and is known for his prowess as a putter.
Gary Woodland - $31
Woodland really struggled on the par-fours at Nine Bridges last year, but he rebounded from a first-round 78 with the tournament's second-best final round performance, a three-under 69. He added a top-5 finish at last week's CIMB Classic and has placed no worse than tied for 12th in three consecutive starts.
Chesson Hadley - $27
Hadley bounced back from a lengthy slump with a T2 at last week's CIMB Classic, where he racked up 26 birdies in four rounds while finishing top-10 in scrambling and putts per GIR. He carded no score worse than a four-under 66 and tallied only three bogeys.
Byeong-Hun An - $26
An led the field with an average of six birdies per round during last year's CJ Cup en route to a T11 finish, while he also tied for the most fairways hit at the event. The Korean placed T13-T8 in his past two starts worldwide and most recently fired a final-round 66 at the CIMB Classic.
Sungjae Im - $24
The rookie not only grew up on Jeju Island in Korea, he's also a member at Nine Bridges. Im's home field advantage pairs well with his recent form after placing T4 in the season opener, having ranked top-7 in both SG: OTT and putts per GIR at the Safeway Open.
Strategy Tips on Yahoo this week
Mirroring last week's CIMB Classic, a modest 78-entrant field with a no-cut structure calls for additional risk taking as this format usually caters to a studs and duds approach. However, a severe lack of value in the $20-$22 range on this week's board favors a collection of $24-$38 players with one of Brooks Koepka ($48), JT ($48) and Jason Day ($44) sprinkled in at the top. Thomas is my favorite out of the elite trio while Hatton and Im foster attention as must-own candidates in the lower tiers.