Golf Glance: PGA, LPGA kick off Asia swings

Field Level Media’s Golf Glance provides weekly news and storylines from each of the major North American golf tours.

PGA TOUR
Justin Thomas
Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

LAST TOURNAMENT: Houston Open (Lanto Griffin)

THIS WEEK: The CJ Cup @ Nine Bridges, Oct. 17-20
Club at Nine Bridges, Jeju Island, South Korea (Par 72, 7,241 yards)
Purse: $9.75 million (Winner: $1.755M)
Defending champion: Brooks Koepka
FedEx Cup leader: Griffin

TV: Wednesday-Saturday (ending Sunday), 10 p.m.-2 a.m. ET (Golf Channel).

NOTES: The no-cut, 78-player event is the first of three events in the Asia swing. … Phil Mickelson and Jordan Spieth will make their event debuts. … Koepka carded a 7-under 29 on the back nine of the final round to cruise to a four-shot victory over Gary Woodland last year. With the win, he climbed to No. 1 in the world rankings for the first time. … The field includes 21 of the top 50 players in the world rankings. … Justin Thomas beat Marc Leishman on the second playoff hole to win the inaugural event in 2017.

BEST BETS: Justin Thomas (+650 by PointsBet) is the betting favorite entering the tournament for good reason. The winner two years ago, Thomas has finished no worse than T12 in his past seven worldwide events, including a victory at the BMW Championship. … Brooks Koepka (+850) dominated last year’s event, but has typically sporadic results over his past 10 events, including three top-4 finishes and five T50 or worse. … Viktor Hovland (+2000) is still seeking his maiden professional victory, but has already risen to No. 94 with eight consecutive top-16 finishes worldwide. … Sungjae Im (+2200) is a Jeju resident and one of 16 South Korean players in the field. He’s also the reigning PGA Tour rookie of the year and won the Genesis Championship for his first KPGA title last week. … Kevin Na (+4000) won his most recent start at the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open and has three victories in his past 30 events.

NEXT WEEK: The Challenge: Japan Skins; The ZOZO Championship, Chiba, Japan

LPGA TOUR

LAST TOURNAMENT: Volunteers of America Classic (Cheyenne Knight)

THIS WEEK: Buick LPGA Shanghai, Oct. 17-20
Qizhong Garden Golf Club, Shanghai (Par 72, 6,691 yards)
Purse: $2.1M (Winner: $315,000)
Defending Champion: Danielle Kang
Race to the CME Globe leader: Jin Young Ko

TV: Thursday-Sunday: 2-4 a.m. ET (Golf Channel)

NOTES: This is the first of four events on the LPGA Tour’s Asia swing. … The field features 17 of the 20 winners on the Tour in 2019. … Ko leads the Tour in official money ($2.63 million), scoring average (68.851) and greens in regulation (79.9%). … Ariya Jutanugarn leads the Tour in eagles (18_ and birdies (207). … Jeongeun Lee6 has secured Rookie of the Year honors. … The average age of winners on Tour this season is 24.5.

NEXT WEEK: BMW Ladies Championship, Busan, Korea

CHAMPIONS TOUR

LAST TOURNAMENT: SAS Championship (Jerry Kelly)

THIS WEEK: Dominion Energy Charity Classic, Oct. 18-20
The Country Club of Virginia, Richmond, Va.
Purse: $2M (Winner: $305,000)
Defending champion: Woody Austin
Charles Schwab Cup leader: Scott McCarron

TV: Friday: 12:30-3 p.m. ET; Saturday-Sunday: 1:30-4 p.m. ET (Golf Channel)

NOTES: This is the first event of the Charles Schwab Cup Playoffs. … Austin birdied the final hole last year to beat Bernhard Langer by one shot. … McCarron enters the playoffs as the top seed, posting a Champions-best 14 top-10s. … Kelly has three victories and 12 top-10 finishes on the season and leads the Champions with a 69.34 scoring average. David Toms, the No. 5 seed, is second at 69.37.

NEXT TOURNAMENT: Invesco QQQ Championship, Thousand Oaks, Calif., Nov. 1-3

–Derek Harper (@DerekAHarper), Field Level Media