A first look at this week’s PGA Tour event – THE CJ CUP @ SUMMIT

The tournament remains in Las Vegas after moving there last year, but it has crossed the city to new venue The Summit Club.

It's pure caps lock this week on the PGA TOUR with THE CJ CUP @ SUMMIT.

It's a new Las Vegas home for the tournament that started out in Korea, but was forced to move to Nevada because of Covid last year and remains there this season.

The Summit Club has a Tom Fazio-designed course and it is a factor that could well prove crucial.

It's a remarkable spot, created by the Howard Hughes Corporation and it claims to "create timeless places and memorable experiences that inspire people."

Lovely words, soon followed by a reminder that it is all achieved "while driving sustainable long term growth and value for shareholders."

The entry fee is $200,000 and the annual membership $39,000.

The course is said to be lush parkland in a desert setting and the photos do suggest a vivid green course contrasting with a rugged backdrop.

What can we expect for the event?

Let's take a closer look.

Xander Schauffele on Fazio

Back in 2007, 2008 and 2009 Fazio's Raptor Course at Grayhawk hosted the PGA Tour's Frys.com Open and, in that short space of time, results suggested it suited specialists.

Mike Weir notched a hat-trick of top sixes, including a victory, and Alex Cejka was 2-for-2 at finishing in the top 10.

Last year, ahead of this tournament at Shadow Creek, Xander Schauffele, who went on to finish second, said: "The Grand Golf Club back at home (in Del Mar, California), that's my home course and it is a Fazio design, so I do see some design aspects that are similar.

"There is a level of comfort that I feel on certain tee shots and on the greens, too. They're kind of trickier than people think. It took me a while to figure those out at home and hoping that that'll help me here."

The specialist factor plus Schauffele's thoughts demand a look at who has performed well at other Fazio courses.

Tom Fazio designs

In addition to this week's course, Grayhawk, and last year's venue, the architect is also responsible for Conway Farms GC, three-time host of the BMW Championship in 2013, 2015 and 2017.

He also created Congaree, which hosted the PGA Tour in June, and Caves Valley, host of this year's BMW Championship.

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Patrick Cantlay was the winner at Caves Valley and also has a top 10 at Conway Farms, but he was only T38th at Shadow Creek last year. However, he does have a fine record in Las Vegas (twice second and also a winner of the Shriners Children's Open).

Jason Day has a sensational record at Conway Farms (a winner and twice fourth), but his form and fitness issues remain on-going.

Englishman Tyrrell Hatton has an intriguing record on Fazio tracks. He was tied third at Shadow Creek last year and tied second at Congaree this June.

Defending champion Jason Kokrak obviously enjoyed the Fazio test 12 months ago and after a poor start (73), he raced through the field at Caves Valley (shooting 68, 65, 66).

Marc Leishman finished like a train last week in landing a second consecutive top five. He didn't make the top 50 last year in this event, but he was a winner at Conway Farms in 2017.

Rory McIlroy has twice failed to finish in the top 50 at Conway Farms, but he was also tied fourth there in 2015 and repeated that effort at Caves Valley in the summer. He was also tied seventh at Adare Manor, a Fazio course in Ireland.

Jordan Spieth went 3-for-3 at landing a top 20 at Conway Farms, was T34th at Caves Valley and T38th last year at Shadow Creek.

Altitude

Las Vegas sits at 610m, which is not so drastic some high cities, but it does effect the ball flight to some degree and Dustin Johnson found that no problem when becoming a two-time winner in the WGC Mexico Championship.

Erik Van Rooyen made his PGA Tour breakthrough in August at the Barracuda Championship, played in the Californian mountains, just over the Nevada border at altitude.

The Johannesburg resident is well-used to playing golf in thin air and, although he played poorly in his seasonal start last week, he has finished T10th at Congaree and tied fifth at Caves Valley.

Form

Alex Noren has won at altitude in Crans and hasn't finished outside the top 20 in his last five starts, including tied fourth in his final appearance of the 2020/21 PGA Tour season at The Northern Trust.

Quietly Tommy Fleetwood has found some late season form and arrives having ticked three top 20s in a row, including second in the Italian Open and tied seventh at the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship (he's been third in Mexico and has three top 10s in the Alps at Crans).

Abraham Ancer missed the cut last week, but prior to that he claimed a first win on the PGA Tour in August and added a pair of top 12 finishes to end the season.

The Korean connection

Remember this event should be in Korea and, as such, KPGA players get a few starts.

Watch out for Hanbyeol Kim who won in July and has finished top 20 in each of his last four starts.

Jaekyeong Lee is another in-form operator: he was tied ninth in his penultimate start and won last week's Genesis Championship on home soil.

READ MORE: Valde-drama: The greatest episodes in the history of this week’s host of the Andalucia Masters

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