If Tennessee sportsbooks are right, South Korea’s Sei Young Kim will get an early Christmas present this weekend. The current Rolex Rankings No. 2 player in the world is the favorite to win the CME Group Tour Championship.
The tournament starts Thursday in Naples, Florida. Kim is leading a talented field looking to earn points toward the LPGA’s CME Globe during the last event of the year.
Details for the CME Group Tour Championship
The penultimate event of the LPGA calendar taking place just before Christmas is a strange occurrence, but it’s 2020. Here are the basic details for the championship:
- Dates: Dec. 17-20
- Purse: $3 million/$1.1 million to the winner
- Course: Tiburón Golf Club
- Par: 72
- Yardage: 6,556
- Fairways/roughs: Bermuda
- Greens: Bermuda
- TV: First three rounds – Golf Channel, Final round – NBC
Because of the lateness of the event this year and the delays in the season, the LPGA expanded the field from 60 to 70 competitors this weekend. There will be no cut for the event.
Kim won this event in 2019 with an impressive score of 270 (-18). Lexi Thompson won the event in 2018 with the exact same score. Thompson is in the field again this year, as are these past winners:
- Ariya Jutanugarn (2017)
- Charley Hull (2016)
- Cristie Kerr (2015)
- Lydia Ko (2014)
Currently, the forecast calls for a 15% chance of light rain on Thursday. Other than that, the forecast is clear for the weekend with highs ranging from 68 to 74 degrees.
For Kim and many others in the field, they are dealing with a short turnaround. The 2020 US Women’s Open in Houston was just last weekend, and rain delayed many of the players in the final round until Monday.
Handicapping Kim vs. the field
Kim was also the favorite at the Open last weekend. Her 290 (+6) was only good enough to barely crack the top 20, however. She wasn’t alone in terms of underperforming compared to short odds.
The following contenders also had short odds for the championship but didn’t finish in the top 20:
- Nasa Hatoaka (T-23rd)
- Brooke Henderson (T-44th)
- Danielle Kang (T-52nd)
- Nelly Korda (cut)
However, that doesn’t mean they won’t earn their places on the shortlist this week.
Kim won consecutive events in October and November before faltering in the Open. She still has the lowest scoring average on the tour. She also leads the tour in greens in regulation rate at 76.9%.
Here are the odds for the event at DraftKings:
|Player||Winner||Top 5||Top 10|
|Sei Young Kim||+700||+175||-136|
|Jin Young Ko||+1000||+225||+100|
|Brooke M. Henderson||+1200||+275||+125|
|So Yeon Ryu||+1600||+400||+164|
If your handicapping models favor golfers with a strong short game, your choice may very well be CME Globe points leader Inbee Park. Park has the second-best putting average and the second-best putts per greens in regulation rate as well. To boot, she’s finished in the top 10 in four of her last five events.
If momentum means a lot to you, it’s hard to look beyond Open runner-up Amy Olson. If not for winner A. Lim Kim scoring birdies on her three final holes, Olson likely would have won the Open.
While Sei Young Kim is favored, that didn’t bode well for her last week. There’s no doubt she has all the necessary tools to make it happen. However, she’s not alone in that distinction.