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Justin Thomas of the United States Team reacts after making his putt on the 15th green during Sunday singles matches on day four of the 2022 Presidents Cup at Quail Hollow Country Club on September 25, 2022 in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Justin Thomas of the United States Team reacts after making his putt on the 15th green during Sunday singles matches on day four of the 2022 Presidents Cup at Quail Hollow Country Club on September 25, 2022 in Charlotte, North Carolina. Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images via AFP.

Congaree Golf Club in South Carolina hosts a small but elite PGA Tour field for this week's CJ Cup. Check out our CJ Cup preview and top picks to win.

Rory McIlroy returns to play on the PGA Tour for the first time since his victory in the Tour Championship. He has played three events on the DP World Tour with no finish worse than a T-4 at last week's Alfred Dunhill Links Championship. Jon Rahm also returns this week after playing two events overseas, including a win at the Open de Espana. Meanwhile, world No. 1 Scottie Scheffler hasn't played since his blown lead and loss to McIlroy at the Tour Championship.

Unsurprisingly, McIlroy, Rahm, and Scheffler, respectively, enter the week as the top-three consensus favorites. However, they're just three of the 15 golfers from the top 20 of the Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) in attendance.

Here are our top picks and predictions for the 2022 CJ Cup based on the odds at our top-rated sportsbooks. Check out our CJ Cup power rankings.

CJ Cup Odds

Rory McIlroy+650+650+700+650+700
Jon Rahm+900+950+900+850+950
Scottie Scheffler+1200+1200+1200+1200+1200
Max Homa+1600+3100+2800+2500+3300
Justin Thomas+1600+1400+1600+1400+1500
Sungjae Im+1800+2200+2200+2200+2200
Matt Fitzpatrick+1800+2400+2200+2000+2500
Shane Lowry+2200+2800+3000+3000+3000
Jordan Spieth+2200+2500+2500+2800+2500
Viktor Hovland+2800+2400+2200+2200+2500

CJ Cup Odds Analysis

FanDuel Sportsbook seems to be taking a different approach from some of our other top books in pricing this week's strong field. FanDuel is offering market-high odds on each of McIlroy, Rahm, Scheffler, and Max Homa. McIlroy has an implied win probability as high as 13.33% via DraftKings Sportsbook, with a $100 bet returning a modest profit of $650.

Collin Morikawa is a value early in the week based on the OWGR. At No. 9 in the world rankings, Morikawa ranks as the fifth-best golfer in this field. However, he shares just the ninth- or 10th-best odds to win this week at most books.

CJ Cup Picks

Congaree Golf Club Course Profile

Par: 71
Length: 7,655 yards
Greens: Bermuda
Architect: Tom Fazio

Congaree Golf Club is hosting a PGA Tour event for just the second time. Designed in 2017, it first hosted the Palmetto Championship in 2021, which was won by Garrick Higgo. Only 19 members of this week's field participated in that event – and just nine made the cut, with Tyrrell Hatton's T-2 finish the best result of this week's contingent.

Higgo was one of seven golfers to finish at 10-under par or better last June. He was the only golfer in the field to score in the 60s in all four rounds en route to an 11-under finish. Just six holes had a scoring average below par.

The easiest hole last year was the 595-yard, par-5 second at a scoring average of 4.733, however, it saw only two eagles carded. The two 360-yard par 4s each had seven eagles scored, while the other two par 5s gave up a total of 19 eagles.

The par 4s range from two at 360 yards to a long of 540. They play to a unique mix with two shorter than 400 yards, and three in each range of 400-450, 450-500, and 500-550. The par 3s range from 170 to 230 yards. All four scored above par last year.

Water is in play on just four holes. Wide fairways allow the longest hitters in the field to go all out to combat the length of Congaree. Sand bunkers plague the fairways and greens, particularly on the back nine.

CJ Cup Key Stats

Strokes gained: off-the-tee
SG: approach
Proximity from 200-plus yards
Birdie or better percentage
Sand save percentage

There's little penalty for inaccuracy off the tee at Congaree Golf Club. Therefore, we can side with driving distance as the more important part of strokes gained: off-the-tee. Approach shots, especially from outside of 200 yards, will also be key.

Scoring opportunities are not plentiful at this venue, so we'll need to favor only those who rank highest in birdie or better percentage. Sand save percentage is a nice tiebreaker stat to consider.

Who Will Win the CJ Cup?

Justin Thomas (+1600)

Congaree Golf Club is a tough course that requires a well-rounded game. This always immediately draws my attention to Thomas, who ranked 16th in strokes gained: off-the-tee, eighth in SG: approach, second in birdie or better percentage, and T-10 in proximity on approaches from 200-plus yards last season. For good measure, Thomas was also eighth on Tour in sand save percentage.

At No. 8 in the OWGR, Thomas ranks fourth in this field. We're getting value from DraftKings, where Thomas shares the fourth-best odds to win at market-high odds of +1600. He's as low as +1300 via PointsBet. The extra three dollars in value for the former world No. 1 and recent major champion needs to be taken in a field this strong.

Sungje Im (+2600)

Im's +2600 odds available via FanDuel are not just a value relative to his +1800 odds at DraftKings, but also in comparison to his price points through his first two events of this season. Sure, those were against weaker fields, but the 20th-ranked golfer in the world has repeatedly proven he can more than hold his own against the biggest names on Tour.

Im also leads all golfers in this field with 2.26 SG: tee-to-green across his last eight measured rounds. He's averaging 1.26 SG: approach and 0.69 SG: putting in that time. He was eighth on Tour in SG: off-the-tee and 16th in proximity from 200-plus yards last season.

Im is one of the few players at the top of this field who participated in the 2021 Palmetto Championship. He tied for 35th but with 1.30 SG: approach per round.

Shane Lowry (+3000)

Lowry enters the week at No. 21 in the OWGR. After being knocked out of the FedEx Cup playoffs with a T-12 finish at the BMW Championship, he returned to play with a win at the DP World Tour's BMW PGA Championship. That field included the likes of McIlroy, Rahm, and Viktor Hovland, against whom Lowry will be competing this week.

The win in Europe was Lowry's first professional victory since 2019, but he also has a runner-up showing and three other top-10 results in 2022. The former Champion Golfer of the Year was just 66th in SG: off-the-tee last season, but he tied for ninth in SG: approach while also sharing first place in proximity from 200-plus yards, and ranking first in sand save percentage.

There's excellent value in PointsBet's market-high +3000 odds, especially compared to DraftKings' +2200 price point.

Where to Bet on the PGA Tour

Here are our top-rated sportsbooks:

CJ Cup picks made on 10/17/2022 at 6 p.m. ET.