CJ Cup: Na looks value on Korea return
The PGA Tour stays in the Far East this week and Dave Tindall has three each-way picks for this week's event CJ Cup in South Korea...
"With that Greenbrier win - a huge moment after the string of near misses since Na's only previous success in 2011 - and four top 20s in his last six starts, the Seoul-born American has the game and confidence to make a run at the trophy."
Each-way terms: 1/5 odds, 6 places
Main Bet: Back Kevin Na each-way @ 50/1
At the risk of becoming a complete Kevin Na fan-boy, I'm going to put up the two-time PGA Tour winner for the second week running. A very bottom line is that 50/1 for Na in a 78-man field seems a good deal.
There are plenty of extras though to expand his case.
For starters, although he never got in a blow, I don't think Na did much wrong when T19 in last week's CIMB Classic.
Shooting 68-67-67-69 on a par 72 normally gets you much further but with the CIMB turning into another birdie-fest, Na got a little left behind.
That said, he ranked 10th in Driving Accuracy, second for GIR and second for Scrambling and third in the All-Around so, beneath the surface of the bare result, there was plenty of positive stuff going on.
Na only made two bogeys on the weeks (1st in that category) but just didn't hole enough putts.
This week's venue produced a winning score of 9-under last year and, although it should be much better than that this time due to the lack of strong winds in the forecast, Na's good work tee-to-green should be worth more.
Not that we should be afraid of backing him in a birdie-fest given that he won the Greenbrier back in July with 19-under and fired a 62 on the way to 15-under and T12 at the BMW Championship last month.
Of course, this is a big week for the 35-year-old given his Korean roots.
Perhaps he tried too hard last year when trying to impress the local fans and finishing in mid-division but, in an obviously weaker field, he returned to the country earlier this summer to bank a top five in the Korea Open.
With that Greenbrier win - a huge moment after the string of near misses since Na's only previous success in 2011 - and four top 20s in his last six starts, the Seoul-born American has the game and confidence to make a run at the trophy.
Next Best: Back Paul Casey each-way @ 22/1
Paul Casey got all emotional on his return to the Ryder Cup, feeling it as much as anyone on the European team.
Absence certainly had made the heart grow fonder and he played his part with a Saturday fourballs win and a hard-fought half in the singles with Brooks Koepka, finishing with 1.5pts from his three games.
"He threw a lot at me; I threw a lot of him. It was just a classic match," Casey said of his clash with Koepka in Match No. 2.
"Thomas was toying between Rory and myself for No. 1. I said I'm not scared, I'll go wherever. I'm here to do a job. Honoured to go out No. 2 and very proud to turn that match around and grab the half-point.
"I'm not going to be as teary as yesterday, but it still gets me. It's great to be part of this."
We've already seen teammates Tyrrell Hatton and Tommy Fleetwood finish runner-up on the back of some Ryder Cup bounce and Casey could go the same way. It's certainly not a bad idea to think that his next win might come in Asia.
Two of Casey's early European Tour victories were in China while back in 2011 he came to Korea and won the Shinhan Donghae Open after shooting an opening 77!
He finished third in the same tournament when defending, made the top 25 in the Ballantine's Championship and, on his fifth start in South Korea, took T19 in this event last year.
The Englishman looked all set for a weekend title challenge in last week's CIMB Classic when tied third after 36 holes only to tire a little in the heat and humidity and finish T13.
However, that should set him up nicely for this week and I can see him making a big run at it. The 22/1 looks a little cramped until you remember that this is a 78-man field.
Casey has finished in the top five in 22% of his last 50 starts and that Ryder Cup experience and March's victory in the Valspar Championship suggests we're not just chasing the each-way money.
I certainly considered Sungjae Im given his very local connection (this is listed as his home course), fine form on the Web.com and T4 at the Safeway Open. He's 40/1.
However, another line of thought is to look at R1 scores here last year. That round could hold the key as it was the only one played in calm conditions before the winds picked up.
Justin Tomas shot 9-under on Thursday and won with 9-under on Sunday so it was definitely the day to make a score.
One man who cashed in was Chez Reavie, who fired 66 to finish the opening lap in a tie for second.
He found the going tougher over the final 54 holes but tied 15th still represented a solid week.
Reavie was a bit hit and miss over the summer but peaked with T6 at St. Jude and T12 in the PGA Championship and he's regained some consistency by playing all four rounds in five of his last six starts.
He was part of the field in Malaysia last week and carded a pair of 69s on the weekend to finish tied 43rd. Nothing amazing about that except that it could prove useful warm-up.
"It's an extremely fair golf course," said Reavie after his first-round 66 last year so it's not one where he feels bombers have an advantage over him.
The American registered back-to-back second places on the PGA Tour earlier this year when runner-up at Phoenix and Pebble so he's worth a look at 125s.
However, I prefer to take the 95/1 (1/4 top five) in the market without Matsuyama, Leishman, Koepka, Casey, Day & Thomas.
That's an awful lot of talent removed, the price cut isn't huge and we're only playing for one less place. In a dream outcome, Reavie finishes solo seventh behind those top six and yet we get a 95/1 winner!
Marc Leishman cut his teeth on the Korean Tour and made a play-off here last year so the idea of him winning back-to-back is based on more than just his victory at TPC Kuala Lumpur last week.
The 14/1 looks short though and not a very Leishman sort of price.
Elsewhere, Hideki Matsuyma is coming back to form while Abraham Ancer now has three top fives and a T7 in his last nine starts so the 50/1 quote is justified.
CJ Cup 2018 Field & Each-Way Tips