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BlogZozo Championship Preview and Picks

Zozo Championship

October 21st – 24th, 2021

Accordia Golf Narashino C.C.

Chiba, Japan

Par: 70 / Yardage: 7,041

Purse: $9.95 million

with $1,791,000 to the winner

Defending Champion:
Patrick Cantlay

by Sal Johnson

Founder, Chief Data Officer, GOLFstats

E-mail me at:
sal@golfstats.com

This week’s field includes:

Of the field of 78 players, 32 of them are in the top 100 in the latest Official World Rankings.  Of those 32 players, 9 of them are in the top-50 of the ranking.  Here are the top-100 in this week’s field: #3 Collin Morikawa, #5 Xander Schauffele, #19 Hideki Matsuyama, #30 Joaquin Niemann, #31 Will Zalatoris, #40 Tommy Fleetwood, #41 Ryan Palmer, #46 Siwoo Kim, #50 Garrick Higgo, #52 Erik van Rooyen, #54 Mackenzie Hughes, #57 Kyoung-Hoon Lee, #60 Branden Grace, #62 Alex Noren, #64 Charley Hoffman, #65 Chris Kirk, #69 Cameron Tringale, #70 Carlos Ortiz, #71 Emiliano Grillo, #72 Ryosuke Kinoshita, #73 Matt Wallace, #75 Sebastian Munoz, #76 Takumi Kanaya, #79 Maverick McNealy, #80 Chan Kim, #81 Jhonattan Vegas, #82 Rickie Fowler, #84 Keegan Bradley, #85 Matt Jones, #86 Shaun Norris, #96 Brendon Todd, #98 Lanto Griffin.

Last year there were 37 of the top-50 players in the world and 58 of the top-100.

The field includes 7 of the Top 25 on this year’s FedEx point standings.  Those players include #6 Maverick McNealy, #7 Collin Morikawa #15 Rickie Fowler, #18 C.T. Pan, #20 Si Woo Kim, # 22 Will Zalatoris, and #25 Henrik Norlander.

This is the third time this event is being played, the previous champions last year Patrick Cantlay, and 2020 Tiger Woods are not in the field.

Here is the performance chart which is basically just a look at the standings for last year.

A good cheat sheet is this list of odds from the top bookmakers in England.

Another cheat sheet is this list of odds from the top bookmaker in Las Vegas.

Time to look at our who’s hot and who isn’t:

Who’s Hot in the field for the Zozo Championship

Player CJ Cup Shriners Children’s Sanderson Farms Dunhill Links Fortinet Champ. BMW PGA Champ. Tour Champ. Italian Open BMW Champ. European Masters Northern Trust Wyndham Champ. WGC FedEx St. Jude
Tommy Fleetwood
(140.33 pts)
T38
(12)
DNP DNP T7
(55)
DNP T12
(38)
DNP T2
(33.33)
DNP DNP DNP T65
(0)
T46
(2)
Alex Noren
(123.5 pts)
T59
(0)
DNP DNP T12
(38)
DNP T27
(23)
DNP DNP T9
(22.5)
DNP T4
(40)
DNP DNP
Collin Morikawa
(119 pts)
2
(100)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T26
(12)
DNP T63
(0)
DNP CUT
(-5)
DNP T26
(12)
Si Woo Kim
(104.83 pts)
76
(0)
CUT
(-10)
T8
(50)
DNP T11
(26)
DNP DNP DNP T29
(10.5)
DNP CUT
(-5)
T2
(33.33)
65
(0)
Hideki Matsuyama
(104.17 pts)
T59
(0)
T67
(0)
DNP DNP T6
(40)
DNP T26
(12)
DNP T46
(2)
DNP T43
(3.5)
CUT
(-3.33)
T2
(50)
Harry Higgs
(96 pts)
T9
(45)
T27
(23)
DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP T38
(6)
DNP T16
(17)
T15
(11.67)
DNP
Erik Van Rooyen
(95.83 pts)
T25
(25)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T22
(14)
DNP 5
(35)
DNP 7
(27.5)
T37
(4.33)
DNP
Tom Hoge
(90.5 pts)
T32
(18)
T14
(36)
CUT
(-10)
DNP T36
(9.33)
DNP DNP DNP T49
(0.5)
DNP T4
(40)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
Xander Schauffele
(86.5 pts)
T18
(32)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T5
(35)
DNP T49
(0.5)
DNP T16
(17)
DNP T46
(2)
Adam Schenk
(86.17 pts)
DNP T3
(90)
CUT
(-10)
DNP T51
(0)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T31
(9.5)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
Will Zalatoris
(84 pts)
DNP CUT
(-10)
T14
(36)
DNP T11
(26)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T29
(7)
T8
(25)
C.T. Pan
(81 pts)
DNP DNP T11
(39)
DNP T6
(40)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-5)
T29
(7)
DNP
Maverick McNealy
(80.17 pts)
T38
(12)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP 2
(66.67)
DNP DNP DNP T63
(0)
DNP T27
(11.5)
DNP DNP
K.H. Lee
(80.17 pts)
T25
(25)
T14
(36)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T12
(19)
DNP T47
(1.5)
T24
(8.67)
T54
(0)
Rickie Fowler
(76.67 pts)
T3
(90)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
Henrik Norlander
(75 pts)
DNP T65
(0)
T4
(80)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-5)
DNP DNP
Robert Streb
(73.67 pts)
T9
(45)
T27
(23)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T60
(0)
DNP T16
(17)
CUT
(-3.33)
T46
(2)
Cameron Tringale
(72.17 pts)
T59
(0)
T56
(0)
T11
(39)
DNP T22
(18.67)
DNP DNP DNP T52
(0)
DNP T21
(14.5)
DNP DNP
Chris Kirk
(59 pts)
T14
(36)
DNP T35
(15)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP 48
(1)
DNP T56
(0)
T29
(7)
DNP
Charley Hoffman
(56.17 pts)
T68
(0)
T44
(6)
T39
(11)
DNP T22
(18.67)
DNP DNP DNP T38
(6)
DNP T21
(14.5)
DNP DNP
Mackenzie Hughes
(55.83 pts)
T25
(25)
DNP T35
(15)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T52
(0)
DNP T27
(11.5)
T37
(4.33)
DNP
Sung Kang
(54.67 pts)
T32
(18)
T27
(23)
T65
(0)
DNP T47
(2)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T15
(11.67)
DNP
Joaquin Niemann
(54 pts)
T45
(5)
T40
(10)
DNP DNP DNP DNP 29
(10.5)
DNP T29
(10.5)
DNP T47
(1.5)
DNP T17
(16.5)
Jhonattan Vegas
(48.67 pts)
T14
(36)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T38
(6)
DNP CUT
(-5)
T15
(11.67)
DNP
Roger Sloan
(47.67 pts)
DNP CUT
(-10)
T14
(36)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-5)
T2
(33.33)
DNP
Lanto Griffin
(46.67 pts)
DNP T6
(60)
CUT
(-10)
DNP T66
(0)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T64
(0)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
Branden Grace
(41.33 pts)
T68
(0)
DNP DNP T27
(23)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP T52
(0)
DNP CUT
(-5)
T2
(33.33)
DNP
Andrew Putnam
(39 pts)
DNP T11
(39)
CUT
(-10)
DNP T30
(13.33)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T56
(0)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
Emiliano Grillo
(36.33 pts)
T18
(32)
T47
(3)
T39
(11)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP T46
(2)
DNP CUT
(-5)
DNP DNP
Matt Jones
(36 pts)
T38
(12)
T27
(23)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T38
(6)
DNP CUT
(-5)
T70
(0)
T51
(0)
Troy Merritt
(30.67 pts)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP T27
(23)
T16
(22.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-5)
DNP DNP
Chesson Hadley
(28 pts)
DNP T27
(23)
T45
(5)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-5)
T15
(11.67)
DNP
Keegan Bradley
(27.5 pts)
T32
(18)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T60
(0)
DNP T11
(19.5)
DNP DNP
Carlos Ortiz
(26.5 pts)
T25
(25)
T47
(3)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T66
(0)
DNP T47
(1.5)
DNP T36
(7)
Brendan Steele
(23.33 pts)
DNP CUT
(-10)
T17
(33)
DNP T42
(5.33)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-5)
DNP DNP
Luke List
(19.67 pts)
DNP CUT
(-10)
T17
(33)
DNP T51
(0)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP 70
(0)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
Matthew NeSmith
(17.67 pts)
DNP T14
(36)
CUT
(-10)
DNP T51
(0)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-5)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
Brendon Todd
(17 pts)
DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP T22
(18.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-5)
T10
(13.33)
DNP
Matt Wallace
(10.17 pts)
DNP T14
(36)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP WD
(-2.5)
DNP DNP
Doug Ghim
(9.5 pts)
DNP T40
(10)
T58
(0)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T31
(9.5)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
Peter Malnati
(6.83 pts)
DNP CUT
(-10)
T51
(0)
DNP T22
(18.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T47
(1.5)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
Sebastian Munoz
(6.33 pts)
T49
(1)
CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP T29
(10.5)
DNP T21
(14.5)
T29
(7)
DNP
Pat Perez
(5.33 pts)
DNP WD
(-5)
DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T16
(17)
DNP DNP
Ryosuke Kinoshita
(3.5 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T43
(3.5)
Ryan Palmer
(-3 pts)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T57
(0)
DNP CUT
(-5)
DNP T26
(12)

How Player Rankings are Computed

Who’s Not Hot in the field for the Zozo Championship

Player CJ Cup Shriners Children’s Sanderson Farms Dunhill Links Fortinet Champ. BMW PGA Champ. Tour Champ. Italian Open BMW Champ. European Masters Northern Trust Wyndham Champ. WGC FedEx St. Jude
Garrick Higgo
(-25.83 pts)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP T64
(0)
DNP WD
(-2.5)
Doc Redman
(-25 pts)
DNP CUT
(-10)
T56
(0)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-5)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
Kyle Stanley
(-25 pts)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-5)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
Tyler McCumber
(-20 pts)
DNP CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-5)
T15
(11.67)
DNP
Bill Haas
(-20 pts)
DNP 72
(0)
CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
Kramer Hickok
(-20 pts)
DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T56
(0)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
Sepp Straka
(-20 pts)
DNP CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-5)
T15
(11.67)
DNP
James Hahn
(-16.67 pts)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T71
(0)
T62
(0)
DNP
Brandon Hagy
(-15 pts)
DNP T56
(0)
T58
(0)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-5)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
Sam Ryder
(-10 pts)
DNP CUT
(-10)
T51
(0)
DNP T58
(0)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-5)
T35
(5)
DNP

How Player Rankings are Computed

The Buzz:

Four weeks in and amazing, we have four winners who have won before on the PGA Tour.  The biggest surprise has been from Rory McIlroy, who has been mired in a two-year slump.  Sure many will say it wasn’t a slump because he won the Wells Fargo, but that event wasn’t flawless as Rory opened up with a first-round 72.  Rory did something that he hadn’t done in a PGA Tour event since the 2020 Travelers Championship, shot four rounds in the 60s.  He had gone 27 tournament starts in between the two events.  This showed that for the first time in 27 events, McIlroy was able to play consistently for 72 holes.  At The Summit Club, Rory went 72 holes with three eagles, 24 birdies, 42 holes but more importantly, just two bogeys.  Yes, McIlroy did have a triple-bogey 7 on the 17th hole on Thursday, but despite that high number bounced back and only made one bogey for his next 55 holes.  The big question is if this is the start of domination for McIlroy?  His big problem was the lack of consistency over 72 holes, but this week seems to have solved the problem. Unfortunately, this will be McIlroy’s last start for four weeks, his next start will be in the European Tours 2021 season-ending event in Dubai.  So on the PGA Tour, this could be the last time we see Rory until The Sentry Tournament of Champions in January.  Last week in my preview and picks, I said that we didn’t know which Rory McIlory would show up, and we see it’s the one that we haven’t seen in years, so for the upcoming season, this is a little teaser.

Talking about last week, I made my six DraftKings picks and it’s time to see how I did.

The six players I picked didn’t fare very well.  In the $400K flop shot, I was one of 31,372 entries and my six guys did so bad I ranked 26,635.  Really a bit embarrassing but that’s the way it goes,

The winner scored 793 points while my six guys earned 562 points.  The winner not only had McIlroy on his team, but also had Morikawa who finished 2nd, Fowler who finished 3rd, and Adam Scott and Aaron Wise who finished T-5th.  His worst pick Russell Henley finished T-25th, by best pick was Jhonattan Vegas who finished T-14th.  So here is the results of my six guys:

  • Dustin Johnson – $11,300 who finished T-45th with 95 points
  • Louis Oosthuizen – $9,300 finished T-38th with 90 points
  • Marc Leishman – $8,600 finished T-38th with 100 points
  • Sergio Garcia – $7,500 finished T-25th with 100 points
  • Brian Harman – $6,600 finished T-72nd with 68 points
  • Jhonattan Vegas – $6,300 finished T-14th with 109 points
Other guys to watch in the future

Another sign that we may have another good player regaining his game was Rickie Fowler.  He went into the final round with the one-shot lead, shot 71, and finished T-3rd, his best finishing T-2nd in the 2019 Honda Classic.  In that span of almost three years, Fowler has played in 53 events.  In his last 38 events, he only has finished in the top ten three times, this week at the CJ Cup, T-8th in the 2021 PGA Championship, and T-5th in the 2020 Sentry Tournament of Champions.  Fowler says that he is working hard with his game, he was able to spend some time with Butch Harman, who use to be his instructor, and now that Harman is retired is just a guru that Fowler stays in touch with.  But Harman gave Fowler some good words so look for him to be better in the future, who knows maybe a win is around the corner. Can we say that Fowler is back?  We will see, we get a chance to see him play this week in Japan.

Other revelations, watch Sungjae I’m, who followed up his Shriner win with a T-9th at The Summit.  Also watch Sam Burns, who won at Sanderson, T-14th at the Shriner, and T-5th at the CJ Cup in the last three weeks.  Aaron Wise is also playing well, finishing T-26th at the Sanderson,  T-8th at the Shriners, and T-5th at The Summit.  One other person to watch, Talor Gooch finished T-11th at the Shriner and T-5th at the CJ Cup.  Unfortunately, none of those four are playing in Japan this week so think about these four in the coming weeks.

Course information:
  • Accordia Golf Narashino Country Club
  • 34 – 36 = 70
  • 3,279 – 3,762 = 7,041

There are 5 par 3s, 10 par 4s, and 3 par 5s

All 5 par 3s are under 191 yards

There are 3 par 4s under 400 yards, 5 par 4s over 480 yards

1 par 5 over 600 yards

This event got its start two years ago when it was played in Japan.  It became an instant success when Tiger Woods won it, the last event Woods has won.  Because of COVID-19, the event last year was played outside of Los Angeles at Sherwood C.C.  With the pandemic easing, they will return to Japan and the Accordia Golf Narashino Country Club, the same club that Tiger Woods won on two years ago.  As for Accordia Golf, it’s not one of the best courses in Japan.  It also doesn’t have the reputation of being a brute of a course. In 2020 45 of the 78 broke par, and the course played to a 69.52 average for the par 70 layout.  So the course does have some bite to it, but it’s a bit like The Summit, a course that we will see more bomb and gouge on.  Accordia is outside of Tokyo and was picked because it can accommodate a lot of spectators.  The original course opened in 1965, and a second 18 was open soon after. Japan course architect Junya Fujita did both, and they have held several professional events, the biggest being the 1977 Japan Open.  The course being played this week is a composite of the 36 holes as it will play to a par 70 at 7,041 yards.  The first thing for everyone to realize, this is a concise course under the standards of having the best players in the world play it.  With Zoysia fairways, the course will play to its true yardage, but the combination of many mature trees and most of the holes bending to one way or another takes the driver out of the hands of the long drivers.  The rough is thick, but since most shots will be between a 6 iron to pitching wedge, it’s nothing the pros can’t handle.  There are a lot of thick trees that line the fairways, and wayward drives will cause problems for those that are wild off the tee, but still, the length will be an advantage this week. One thing the players will find strange, each hole has two greens. That’s because they have summer and winter greens in Japan.  So like in 2020, the PGA Tour will pick the green that is in the best shape and presents the best challenge.  The greens are extensive and easy to hit from the fairways, they do have some undulations.  The players will find the greens a bit slow for what they are used to, which could be a significant advantage for poorer putters.  Bunkers are no problem and are there for cosmetic looks, and any chip around the green will be easy.

Now the bad news, the weather for the week won’t be good.  Thursday will hit a high of 63 with cloudy skies most of the day.  Friday will only get up to 59 and it’s supposed to rain all day. Saturday and Sunday will be mostly cloudy with temperatures between 64 and 55.  Each day will see winds between 6 and 9 mph

Players we shouldn’t forget about

This week’s event is being played in Japan that has a very capable tour in which 22 members of that Tour are playing this week.  We all know about Hideki Matsuyama, who won the Masters last April.  But a few others are playing that we don’t know much about but could also be content.  Watch for Ryosuke Kinoshita, who not only leads the Japan Golf Tour money list but has won twice in his last ten starts.  He was T-3rd last week in the Japan Open, which is they’re equivalent to our U.S. Open.  American Chan Kim has played in Japan since 2015 and, in his last eight starts, has a win and three top-tens and is 2nd on their money list.  Third on the list is Rikuya Hoshino, he has played on the tour since 2016 and won five times.  Also, watch South African Shaun Norris, a regular on the Japan Golf Tour. He has won six events on that tour, including last week at the Japan Open.  Also players like Shugo Imahira and Yuta Ikeda who use to play on the PGA Tour.

DraftKings tips

*Here are the guys that cost the most on DraftKings this week:

  • Collin Morikawa – $11,200
  • Xander Schauffele – $11,000
  • Will Zalatoris – $10,500
  • Hideki Matsuyama – $10,300
  • Tommy Fleetwood – $10,000
  • Joaquin Niemann – $9,900
  • Rickie Fowler – $9,800
  • Si Woo Kim – $9,600
  • Erik Van Rooyen – $9,500
  • Kevin Bradley – $9,400
  • Maverick McNealy – $9,300
  • Cameron Tringale – $9,200
  • Emiliano Grillo – $9,100
  • MacKenzie Hughes – $9,000

Before we start, have to remind you that Tokyo is 13 hours ahead of us so you have to get your picks in by Wednesday afternoon.  The game will close on Wednesday night at 7:30.

For the second week in a row, we have an event in which there won’t be a cut so we can have all six players generating points for 72 holes.  A change of pace, I like the top-two players, Collin Morikawa at $11,200 and Xander Schauffele at $11,000  Feel both of them will play great and contend on Sunday, so the question will be if I took these two what does that leave me with?  Not good, with the two costing $22,200 that leaves you with $27,800 over four picks, so you have to find four players that average just $6,950.  Even with some of the undervalued Japanese players, you aren’t going to find four under that ceiling so it’s hard to pick the two.  So the choice will be to take one of the top two, either one will be a great choice I am tending toward Morikawa after his great finish last week.  Still, Schauffele will be a great choice.  Will Zalatoris at $10,500 is someone to be careful on, he did miss the cut at the Shriners and despite some top 20 finishes, for the price, he may be too high.  I just don’t think he will contend this week so I am passing on him.  Hideki Matsuyama at $10,300 is a good choice, he will be playing at home and has a lot to prove so I think he finishes in the top five.  For those wondering Matsuyama did finish 2nd at Accordia so he can play well on the course.  Tommy Fleetwood at $10,000 is someone in flux.  A month ago I would have said no to him, but he has played better of late but his T-38th finish last week bothers me, so I am saying no to him.  Joaquin Niemann at $9,900 is not a bad choice but the price is too high.  He needs a top ten to make buying him worthwhile and I kind of doubt that he can do that.  The same with Rickie Fowler at $9,800, he is just breaking out of his poor play but still anything is possible for Fowler.  Of course, the T-3rd from last week at the Summit will be what everyone remembers, but he missed his two previous cuts, I say this isn’t a good time to pick Fowler.  Si Woo Kim at $9,600 played in this event in 2020 and finished T37th. His game is ok, but I don’t think his price is worth it, take a pass on him.  Erik Van Rooyen at $9,500 is a big price for him.  I also like that he was playing well at the end of the summer, but after missing the cut at the Shriners and T-25th at Summit along with him averaging just 42 DraftKings points per event I say no to him.  Kevin Bradley at $9,400 is also no for me, just hasn’t played well over the last three months.  Maverick McNealy at $9,300 is a no even though he finished 2nd at the Fortinet.  Cameron Tringale at $9,200 is a no mostly because he hasn’t had a top-ten since Vaspar in May, but his DraftKings points are good, he averages 65.4 per event.  Same with Emiliano Grillo at $9,100, he is the same story just not enough good starts of late to give him the pick, even with the thought that he averages 64.3 DraftKings points per event.  MacKenzie Hughes at $9,000 just hasn’t played good enough of late and his DraftKing points are good as he averages 58.3 per round.

*Players in that $7,500 to $8,900 price range, which ones are worth the money?:

Last week Jhonattan Vegas was $6,300 and did well.  This week Vegas is $8,900 and is too high to take but he is playing well enough to get you a lot of points.  Ryan Palmer at $8,300 is a better choice, yes he hasn’t played well since the Scottish Open, but Palmer averages 77.77 DraftKings points plus he did finish T-10th at Accordia in 2020.  Adam Schenk at $8,200 is a person to think about.  He was T-3rd at Summit and 4th at Barracuda.  But his DraftKings points are nothing to talk about, he averages just 51.4 in each event.  Harry Higgs at $7,500 is worth a look, he has played well of late and does make some DraftKing points, averaging 54.5 points

*Some of the “bargains” this week at the Zozo Championship:

With all of the Japanese players, this section is ripe with a lot of players worth the money.  Off the bat, Henrik Norlander at $7,400 is worth the money, he has been up and down this year but was T-4th at Sanderson and T-5th at Barbasol.  Sebastian Munoz at $7,300 is also a person to look at.  He can play well, but at the same time has missed half of his cuts in the last three months.  Now we get to some of our Japanese players and first up is Takumi Kanaya at $7,200.  In Kanaya’s last seven Japan Golf Tour starts his worst finish is T-16th and he has been in the top-five, three times.  Chan Kim at $6,500 makes a lot of sense, in his last six starts has a win and a T-5th.  He has experience in this event, he finished T-41st at Accordia in 2020.  Scott Vincent at $6,400 is also a worthy pick, on the Japan Tour he has not been out of the top-20 in his last nine starts and has two wins.  Ryosuke Kinoshita is also a wonderful choice, he is only $6,200 and has played well of late including two wins back in June, he also leads the Japan Golf Tour money list.  Another savvy pick is Jinichiro Kozuma at $6,100, in his last three starts in Japan he was T-11th, T-2nd and T-2nd.  Lastly, you can get Shaun Norris at $6,000 he won last week’s Japan Open.

*So who are my six DraftKings picks for this week?
  • Xander Schauffele – $11,000
  • Hideki Matsuyama – $10,300
  • Ryan Palmer – $8,300
  • Matt Wallace – $8,000
  • Ryosuke Kinoshita – $6,200
  • Jinichiro Kozuma – $6,100

Here are some of the secrets of what it takes to play well at the Zozo Championship:

The key stat for the winner:
  • Of the field of 78 players, only a handful have seen the course.  So for each player, it will be a new adventure learning the course.
Here are some more key stats to look to for this week:
  • Just like last week, this course can be seriously attacked and long hitters have a big advantage.  Now that doesn’t mean you can be wild, just off the fairway works, but if your way offline it will be a tough go because the course has a lot of trees down each fairway.
  • We can see that the greens are easy to hit, but since many of them sit up if green is missed by a lot it will be hard to get it up and down, so those that scramble well will have an advantage.
  • Look For a birdie fest this week.  The last time it was played in 2020 the 78 players made 1,037 birdies on the course.  Of the 12 that finished in the top ten, they averaged making 4.52 birdies per round.
  • Don’t disregard any of the Japanese players, a half dozen could be in the mix to content this week.
  • One last thing, look for players that have done well of late.

Who to watch for at the Zozo Championship

Best Bets:

Collin Morikawa

2021 ’20 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09
T50 T22

He was T-22nd when this event was last played in Japan in 2020, was T-4th in the Olympics at the beginning of August. With his runner-up finish, last week at the CJ Cup shows he is ready to win again.

Xander Schauffele

2021 ’20 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09
T17 T10

Won in Japan just two months ago at the Olympics finished 3rd in the FedEx Cup Playoffs. Was T-10th the last time this event was played in Japan at Accordia Golf Narashino.

Hideki Matsuyama

2021 ’20 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09
T28 2

You know he is looking to showcase his game in front of the home crowd, this may be his personal U.S. Open. Was runner-up to Tiger when it played at Accordia two years ago, also looking to redeem himself when he lost an Olympic medal in the playoff over the summer.

Best of the rest:

Joaquin Niemann

2021 ’20 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09
T17 T33

A very solid player who makes a lot of checks had three runner-up finishes in 2021. Played in this event when it was played at Accordia in 2020, was T-33rd.

Will Zalatoris

2021 ’20 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09
First time playing in this event

Should be well rested after not playing last week, was T-7th at Fortinet. 2021 was a dream come true for him, but he is still looking for his first win.

Rickie Fowler

2021 ’20 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09
T57

His game is looking up after a poor last two years. Playing for the first time in Japan, was 2nd last week in the CJ Cup.

Solid contenders

Ryan Palmer

2021 ’20 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09
T4 T10

Was T-10th at Accordia in 2020, was T-4th last year at Sherwood. Had some solid finishes in 2021, T-2nd at the Farmers, T-4th in Scotland.

Jhonattan Vegas

2021 ’20 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09
First time playing in this event

Was T-14th at the CJ Cup last week, he also had three runner-ups in 2021. Never played in this event and first time playing in Japan.

Tommy Fleetwood

2021 ’20 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09
T57 T22

Could his game be on the uptick? Was T-7th at Dunhill Links, T-12th at the BMW PGA Championship, and T-2nd at the Italian Open. Was T-22nd at this event at Accordia in 2020, finished T-16th at the Olympics played in Japan.

Players you won’t think about and should, those who play regularly in Japan:

Ryosuke Kinoshita

2021 ’20 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09
First time playing in this event

Had a terrific summer as he has not been out of the top ten in his last five starts on the Japan Golf Tour. Leading money winner in Japan for the 2020-21 Japan Golf Tour and 72nd in the Official World Golf Rankings. Won twice in Japan in 2021

Shaun Norris

2021 ’20 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09
T28 T51

Got a last-minute invite to this event when he won the Japan Open Golf last week. Is 7th on the Japan Tour money list. The South African has been playing in Japan since 2015, he has won six times

Shugo Imahira

2021 ’20 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09
T66 T59

Played on the Japan Golf Tour since 2014, Was T-59th when the event was played at Accordia in 2020. Won the Fujisankei Classic in September. Important to know he has won five times in Japan

Rikuya Hoshino

2021 ’20 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09
T72 T51

Was T-51st when this event was played in Japan in 2020, was T-38th at last August Olympics. Is 3rd on the Japan money list this year, has won five times in Japan.

Comments

  1. howister12@verizon.net says

    can u fix the odds website. thank u

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