The CJ Cup First-Round Leader Tips: Na can set the bar

American Kevin Na
Local resident Kevin Na can start fast

Dave Tindall heads over to Las Vegas this week with three each-way FRL picks for Shadow Creek...

"Top 20 in this event last year, he's a two-time winner in Las Vegas so hopefully his added local knowledge will kick in early."

Back Kevin Na each-way @ 85/1

Each-way terms: 1/5 odds, 6 places

Weather forecast for Shadow Creek: The action starts just before 10am local by which time it's already pushing 80 degrees. Temps should peak in the mid-high 90s in the afternoon. There's some wind but it's fairly consistent throughout the golfing day at around 10mph.

FRL history at Shadow Creek


Strategy: With a two-tee start, three-balls and just 72 players competing, it's all pretty bunched. The first groups hit off at 09:45 local and the last at 11:57. There's no obvious advantage with tee-times and there's no real course form to go on either so this is a free hit. Due to the limited field, I prefer to try my luck in this event rather than the Scottish Championship.

Count on Kevin

With Shadow Creek hosting for the first time, there's no course form to go on.

Therefore, there's logic in going for a Vegas resident in the form of Kevin Na.

Na has played it a number of times and living in the area will allow him to sleep in his own bed.

Na was quick out of the blocks in last week's Vegas event, the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open, and later shot a 64 in round three.

He also shot a 64 at the WGC-St. Jude and a 65 in the Northern Trust so the Korean-American has been firing some low ones.

Na is one of the four players taking part in a Charity Challenge at the course on Wednesday (he partners Byeong Hun An against Bubba Watson and Rickie Fowler) so that might just sharpen up him up too.

Top 20 in this event last year, he's a two-time winner in Las Vegas so hopefully his added local knowledge will kick in early.

He heads out from No.10 at 11:46.

Bank on Brian

Brian Harman has adapted early to the Vegas altitude and yardages in his last two starts at the Shriners.

Last year he opened with a 64 to sit second after day one while last week he started with rounds of 65 and 63.

This week's course, Shadow Creek, is designed by Tom Fazio and many have said it feels like it's been plucked out of the Carolinas and plonked in the desert.

It's good news then that Harman won the Wells Fargo in North Carolina in 2017.

Also of interest, perhaps, is that he's been in the top eight after day one in three of his last five starts in NC. He likes the visuals perhaps and can translate that to Shadow Creek.

The left-hander was superb on the greens at TPC Summerlin last week (gained over 7 strokes) and early quotes from this week's press conferences say it's important to be playing from the fairway.

Harman is one of the straighter hitters on Tour so hopefully he can thrive in round one. Take the 60s on the 11.02 starter (1st tee).

Score with Keegan

Finally, I'm drawn to the 95/1 about Keegan Bradley.

There's not a great deal to this beyond his price set against his R1 scoring.

Three times in his last 39 starts he's emerged as the first-round leader and they were all in full-field events (Players Championship, Canadian Open and the Farmers Insurance).

He'll have just 71 rivals to beat this time.

The former US PGA winner was seventh after round one just two starts ago when finishing fourth at the Sanderson Farms and he didn't exactly do much wrong when missing the cut in Vegas last week (70-67).

Bradley was T7 at TPC Summerlin a few years ago so he can play in Sin City.

As for the Carolinas link, he's twice finished in the top four in majors there - once in North, once in South. He was in the top six after day one in both.

In contrast to the other two picks, he's in one one of the very early groups out, 09:56 from the 1st.

Dave's First Round Leader P/L

Staked: £780
Returned: £445.35
P/L: -£334.65

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