Free betting tips: Ben Coley's CJ Cup betting preview

Last Updated October 19 2017, 06:18Golf
Ian Poulter
Ian Poulter

The PGA Tour heads to South Korea for the first time this week, and Ben Coley is backing four players including Asia specialist Ian Poulter.

The PGA Tour breaks new ground this week with a first trip to South Korea, where Nine Bridges will host the CJ Invitational.

Emotions will be running high for Korean golfing legend K.J. Choi, who has been instrumental in finalising the event and is one of 78 players afforded the opportunity to play four rounds at what's a fairly short, straightforward-looking par 72 which should play soft after some rain in the build-up.

Choi will be pleased with what appears to be a strong field, headed by Justin Thomas after he came up well short in search of a third successive victory in last week's CIMB Classic.

As mentioned then, it's hard to see quite where Thomas's motivation lies except for his ambition to become world number one and even that may not be enough here. He'll surely be keen to conserve some energy for the WGC-HSBC Champions in China next week and, at 8/1, is overlooked.

With no course results to go on - watch out for form from the 'other' Nine Bridges, in Seoul - it's wise to tread fairly carefully here and I'll be focusing on those with form in Asia, obvious incentive and the ability to reach what I suspect will be a low winning total.

Luke List ticks two of those boxes, at least, and for the third week in succession goes in the staking plan.

The 32-year-old made too many mistakes to be a factor in Malaysia last week, but a top-15 finish on what was his debut at TPC Kuala Lumpur represents a very solid sighter as he adjusts to playing golf in Asia. In fact, the only player ahead of him who hadn't played the course before was Xander Schauffele.

List finished off the tournament really well with a bogey-free 68 and would've finished inside the top 10 had he found one more birdie, so the signs are that he's in good form as he was at this time last year when going close in Mississippi.

Crucially, his best form has come on easy par 72s - precisely what you'd expect from one of the most naturally powerful players on the circuit. As well as finishing second in the Sanderson Farms, his sole Web.com win came on a par 72 as did his career-best share of third on a softened Houston course last spring.

He's also gone well in the CareerBuilder Challenge, RSM Classic and Canadian Open, played across some of the most straightforward par-72s on the PGA Tour.

At T11 in birdie average and second for par-five birdie or better last season, List therefore has an ideal profile if I'm correct in believing that this will be a shootout with performance across the four par-fives and one driveable par-four key to success.

Granted, there's some guesswork required but at 80/1 he looks worth sticking with.

Luke List: Ready to make his mark
Luke List: Ready to make his mark

One year older and with a similar enough profile, Gary Woodland is next on the list having been eased out despite playing perfectly well last week.

Two bogey-free rounds at TPC Kuala Lumpur is some effort - while a low-scoring track, few players manage to avoid a hiccup over even 18 holes - and he closed out encouragingly to once again show that he's comfortable in Asia.

Of course, Woodland has been twice second in the Malaysian capital whereas we don't know for sure how he'll take to this course, but he's another who dominates the par-fives due to his prodigious length and he probably should've won at Glen Abbey last season.

The putter is his weakness, as we saw in Canada, but that's less of a concern on greens few players in this field have seen before, and it's worth noting that some of his better efforts have come on the grainier surfaces of Hawaii and Mexico.

Woodland tied with Pat Perez and Hideki Matsuyama in co-leading the greens-in-regulation charts last week and seems bound to set up chances. With the par-fives here looking more scoreable it could well be that he can improve on a share of 28th without necessarily making many more putts.

One other factor in Woodland's favour is incentive, as he has 49th place in the Official World Golf Rankings to defend. Staying in the top 50 unlocks starts in various big tournaments, albeit the 33-year-old will be in the field for next week's WGC-HSBC Champions regardless, and he'll be determined to take advantage of the next fortnight to solidify his position.

Ian Poulter is not yet in the field for an event he's won before and that could inspire a big performance here.

We know Poulter plays well in Asia, as he's won China's HSBC Champions in the past as well as in Hong Kong, Singapore and Japan.

This is also very much his time of year. Poulter has won eight times from October to December versus just two titles across the preceding three months and while that's in part due to field strength, it's also a reflection of the fact he so often has had more to play for than others as the campaign draws to a close.

At 54th in the world rankings that's very much the case once more and Poulter will know that gaining access to next year's majors and World Golf Championships is his best route back into the Ryder Cup side.

He said as much at the British Masters, telling reporters there that returning to the world's top 50 and earning a place in next week's field is his main objective, and perhaps he can draw from it to get into contention here.

Poulter has never been particularly effective in Kuala Lumpur so his moderate performance there is not much of a concern, especially as he saved his best until last with a five-birdie 31 across his final nine holes.

If he can bring that form to Korea, where unlike most in this field he has played before and with some success (2-MC-15), the Englishman could be a factor.

Adam Scott and Patrick Reed make some appeal at the head of the market but neither is quite big enough for a bet.

Scott signed off the Presidents Cup with an impressive singles win and it's interesting that after he did exactly the same in 2015, he returned to stroke play golf with a run of 7-2-70-5-2.

Like Poulter, he's a multiple winner in Asia and could improve on what's been a tough year on the golf course.

Reed meanwhile will be determined to win having failed to do so in over a year and he too returned to action after the 2015 Presidents Cup with a good effort in Asia, finishing third in the Hong Kong Open.

This is a very different course but should suit him just fine and 28/1 is perfectly fair considering that he's been more prolific than all bar the favourite and 14/1 shot Jason Day over the last few years.

However, with so many imponderables it's best to look to those at slightly bigger prices and I'll complete my staking plan with Byeong-hun An.

Siding with a Korean is a fairly obvious approach given how big a deal this will be to those who've never played a PGA Tour event in their homeland before, but the case for An extends beyond his nationality.

He was a big eye-catcher last week in Italy, stuttering in the final round having previously made his way into contention to demonstrate that he could be close to a return to his best form.

I found it particularly interesting that when asked to compare the state of his game to May 2015, when he won the BMW PGA Championship in a phenomenally low total on a par 72, An replied, "similar".

Byeong Hun An 2017 Swing Sequence

His best performances on the PGA Tour have come in the Zurich Classic of New Orleans and the Phoenix Open, two low-scoring courses which favour long hitters, and he's got plenty of positive experience playing in Asia.

Despite winning at Wentworth, much of his standout form has come on modern, long, fairly wide courses as this one appears to be and he's another who could jump back up to where he belongs in the rankings if able to build on his performance in Milan.

Of the rest, Emiliano Grillo was fairly interesting having won at around this time two years ago on an easy par 72, plus having gone well in China when a European Tour player, while Daniel Berger's iron play and putting could make him a contender. He was an excellent second in the WGC-HSBC Champions last year but might just be using this to sharpen up in time for the more prestigious event.

Kyle Stanley continues to flush it and won on a rain-softened course in the summer. He's another who is just outside the top 50 in the world, although his performances last season have already sealed a place in next week's valuable event.

And finally, Kevin Tway is playing better than most of those at 150-200/1 and is another big-hitter who could take to what looks set to be a fairly straightforward test.

Recommended bets: CJ Cup

1pt e.w. Luke List at 80/1 (1/5 1,2,3,4,5,6) - played well last week; should improve again at a course new to almost everyone

1pt e.w. Gary Woodland at 50/1 (1/4 1,2,3,4,5) - two bogey-free rounds in CIMB suggest he's ready to go close once more

1pt e.w. Ian Poulter at 70/1 (1/4 1,2,3,4,5) - huge incentive to perform here and we know he does so in Asia late-season

1pt e.w. Byeong-hun An at 50/1 (1/4 1,2,3,4,5) - much more like it in Italy; big player in event he'd love to win

Posted at 1155 BST on 17/10/17.

Related links

Most Read

World Cup tips for Sunday 24 June including England's clash with Panama1

Sunday's World Cup betting tips

George Pitts and Tom Carnduff look at Sunday's World Cup action, and have found an 18/1 best bet as part of their recommendations.

Racegoers celebrate at Royal Ascot2

Punter wins £44k off £9 at Ascot!

One Sky Bet punter managed to find all six winners at Royal Ascot on Friday - his £8.80 stake returning £44,000 after an inspired set of selections.

Toni Kroos scores for Germany against Sweden3

Kroos keeps German hopes alive

Ten-man Germany clung to their World Cup dreams in the most dramatic fashion as Toni Kroos struck a 95th-minute winner against Sweden in Sochi.

Luca Cumani4

Sunday's racing preview

Keith Hamer expects Luca Cumani to be among the winners at Pontefract and has a tip for every race in the UK and Ireland.

Merchant Navy edges out City Light in a thriller5

Royal Ascot: Day five review

A review of the action from Royal Ascot on Saturday where Merchant Navy won a dramatic Diamond Jubilee Stakes.

Most Read

World Cup tips for Sunday 24 June including England's clash with Panama1

Sunday's World Cup betting tips

George Pitts and Tom Carnduff look at Sunday's World Cup action, and have found an 18/1 best bet as part of their recommendations.

Racegoers celebrate at Royal Ascot2

Punter wins £44k off £9 at Ascot!

One Sky Bet punter managed to find all six winners at Royal Ascot on Friday - his £8.80 stake returning £44,000 after an inspired set of selections.

Toni Kroos scores for Germany against Sweden3

Kroos keeps German hopes alive

Ten-man Germany clung to their World Cup dreams in the most dramatic fashion as Toni Kroos struck a 95th-minute winner against Sweden in Sochi.

Luca Cumani4

Sunday's racing preview

Keith Hamer expects Luca Cumani to be among the winners at Pontefract and has a tip for every race in the UK and Ireland.

Merchant Navy edges out City Light in a thriller5

Royal Ascot: Day five review

A review of the action from Royal Ascot on Saturday where Merchant Navy won a dramatic Diamond Jubilee Stakes.

Racing Tips

Luca Cumani

Sunday's racing preview

Keith Hamer expects Luca Cumani to be among the winners at Pontefract and has a tip for every race in the UK and Ireland.

Find out who our team are backing ahead of today's racing

Sporting Life: Daily Nap

David Ord has three selections for Sunday with the nap of the day running at Pontefract.

Get your bets on!

Our best bets

Check out all of our available betting tips and previews of the forthcoming sporting action.

Next Race Off
10:00 Bangalore
6
(8)
Summer Palace
J: P Trevor
4
(4)
Santiago
J: T S Jodha
9
(6)
Dhanalakshmi
J: Arshad Alam

Football Tips

World Cup tips for Sunday 24 June including England's clash with Panama

Sunday's World Cup betting tips

George Pitts and Tom Carnduff look at Sunday's World Cup action, and have found an 18/1 best bet as part of their recommendations.

Get your bets on!

Our best bets

Check out all of our available betting tips and previews of the forthcoming sporting action.

Ajman King was in a league of his own at Epsom

Sporting Life: Tipping record

A look at how the Sporting Life recommended bets have performed.