Preview: ZOZO CHAMPIONSHIP

Off to Japan for a 78-man invitational for the first time since 2019.

2021 ZOZO CHAMPIONSHIP

Accordia Golf Narashino Country Club

Chiba Prefecture, Tokyo, Japan

Yards (per official scorecard):7,041
Par:70 (34-36)
Greens:Bentgrass.
Stimpmeter:12 feet.
Rough:3.5 inches.
Bunkers/Water Hazards90/9.
Architects:Shinya Fujita
Purse:$9.95 million ($1.791 winner) plus 500 FedExCup points.
Defending Champion (event):Patrick Cantlay (Sherwood)
Fact of the Week:Returns for second time since 2019 debut.
Fact of the Week II:Tiger Woods is the defending champion at this course.

Notes:

  • 78 players
  • No cut event

2021-2022 Season Winners

*- First-time winner

**- First-time winner AND rookie winner

EventWinner
Fortinet ChampionshipMax Homa
Sanderson Farms ChampionshipSam Burns
Shriners Children’s OpenSungjae Im
CJ CUP @ SUMMITRory McIlroy

Check out HORSES FOR COURSES for more details on those who play well here.

Event Winners:

Calendar Year/Player/ScoreNotes
2020 – Patrick CantlayWon at Sherwood Country Club in Los Angeles.
  
2019 – Tiger Woods, -19Held off Hideki Matsuyama by three shots to win the inaugural event, his 82nd TOUR victory.
  

Limited fields = big name winners was my angle last week and Rory McIlroy (!) and Collin Morikawa didn’t disrupt that theory as they finished 1-2 separated by a lonely shot.

Limited fields = big names because they don’t have as many bullets to dodge and they tend to shine brightest when the big bucks are in play.

This week the field of 78 is lighter than my wallet after betting IU +4.5 at home off a bye week vs Michigan State last weekend (MSU 20-15).

This course has seen TOUR action exactly once and that’s chronicled in Horses for Courses.

As is the case with unfamiliar tracks, find guys who pound it tee-to-green and stay out of trouble.

A different layout with dual greens on each hole, Narashino also features five Par-3 holes and three Par-5 holes on a Par-70 layout.

Tiger Woods won by blistering fairways and greens and played the Par-3 holes in 9-under, his career best (!!!) on TOUR. The next closest player was 5-under. The extra Par-5 hole won’t hurt either.

Looks like GIR is the key this week and the more fairways the better, but that’s not required as they are tough to hit, period.

Last Week – CJ CUP @ SUMMIT

Invitational field in the desert for a second year running at a Tom Fazio track in Vegas that got run over by some of the best in the world!  

Chalk

Dustin Johnson (+1000): Very solid week at the Ryder Cup (5-0) pushes him to the top of the public pile. Doesn’t hurt he was T6 at Caves Valley either. Not sure his hangover is gone yet hahaha. No chance I’m playing the favorite in this field on a brand-new track. Can’t post 74 in Round 1 in a shootout! T45.

Xander Schauffele (+1200): No value here and there shouldn’t be any! Wonder if his hangover is gone haha. No cut = no problems. Hangover hung around until Sunday when he busted out 63 to creep inside the top 20 at T18.

Justin Thomas (+1200): This number is surely based on his previous work at this event not his recent results. T18 after 64 on Sunday suggest all the pieces aren’t put back together just yet.

Collin Morikawa (+1600): Will have more advantage than most if this is where he lives and practices! Worth a nibble! One short in solo second but 17-under on the weekend with 62 proved his value.

Rory McIlroy (+1600): Emotionally wiped out after a tumultuous Ryder Cup. The guaranteed four rounds will help get it back on track. I’d say it’s back on track! And with the PUTTER! Sadly not even stumbling form at the Ryder Cup could bounce his number to 20-1 or worse. Rory is great for golf and congrats on win No. 20!

Jordan Spieth (+2000): Plenty of room to swing it and Bentgrass greens? Interesting, yes. Might get stroke-play healthy here. Imagine opening 13-under after 36 holes and being FIVE back? 72 on Saturday was the flat tire. T18 but three really solid rounds.

Louis Oosthuizen (+2200): If we had a dollar for every time we said this is gonna be the week he finally wins on TOUR, we’d be rich. Top 10 and Top 20. Lighter Fluid. LL.

Sam Burns (+2200): Fire has to extinguish at some point. He’s had the pedal to the metal. Careful. DOES NOT CARE. MAKE MOAR BIRDIES T5.

Tony Finau (+2500): The more Par-5 holes and unfamiliar greens the merrier! 63 to close at Caves Valley too. 3 way action. I appreciate him for not being close all week long so I could just tear up my tickets.

Brooks Koepka (+2800): This field should get his attention. This number has gotten my attention. I’ll revisit this before Thursday tee times. T38 with all four rounds 70 or better. Glad I passed.

Scottie Scheffler (+2800): He hasn’t won, yet. T38.

Shane Lowry (+2800): Easy top 20. Figured it out two rounds too late, sadly L.

Viktor Hovland (+2800): No jet lag, no rust, no problem. 3 way action. T18 cashes a skinny ticket.

30-1 or Worse

Sungjae Im (+3000): Free roll this week but he’ll want to win the event based in his homeland and hometown. If the attention this week wasn’t enough, winning should will amplify it. If he putts like last week, it might not matter. Top 10. T9 and away we go!

Abraham Ancer (+3500): Too good to let a bad week get in the way of a two week road trip to Vegas. Played in the final group before fading to T14.

Tyrrell Hatton (+4000): Rode into town HAWT last year after winning the BMW. Arrives this season off T2 at Dunhill. 3 way action. Began Sunday T6, and like Ancer, shot 71 to disappear down the board. T18

Jason Kokrak (+5000): Not much happening recently but loves Las Vegas and Bentgrass. Top 20. Played his final 54 holes in 17-under, good for T25. Imagine if he wouldn’t have opened with 77…

Marc Leishman (+5000): I believe in him and heat. 3 way action. I believe in donating blood every Monday…

Russell Henley (+6000): Cashed T3 at Shadow Creek but led by three after 54 holes. Top 10. T25 not enough.

Aaron Wise (+6000): Right back at it. Top 10. Lovely ticket T5.

Harold Varner III (+6500): #NappyFactor. 16-under = T32

Talor Gooch (+6500): Top 20 as he rolls in T11, T4. T5 as he closed with 62!

Alex Noren (+6500): Top 10, Top 20. T59. Rubbish.

Funny Money

Jhonattan Vegas (+8000) – T14

Kevin Streelman (+13000): Desert dawg. – T49

KH Lee (+13000) – T25

Emiliano Grillo (+15000) – T18

Tom Hoge (+20000) – T32

Harry Higgs (+25000) – T9

This Week – ZOZO CHAMPIONSHIP

Thin. Skinny. Weak.

Enough about me 30 years ago…

This field ain’t going to move many needles for a couple of reasons:

1.) Less than 10 players from the OWGR top 50

2.) It’s gonna end at 3 am ET Sunday

DO NOT FORGET THE ACTION BEGINS TONIGHT AT 730 PM ET

Chalk

Xander Schauffele (+750): Some will argue (raises hand) that he’ll only need to beat about  5 guys this week. Fullest bag in the field and we know how he loves events similar to this.

Collin Morikawa (+750): Co-favorite and no argument here. No home field advantage this week but he played here just like Schauffele in 2019. He’s been the hotter of the two and that breaks my tie.

Hideki Matsuyama (+1100): Only thing left to do is win this event in his homeland. I wrote earlier today I like that this will be his fourth event of the fall already. Tuned up. Win-Top10-Top20

Will Zalatoris (+1800): Yes because the field is light. No because winning is difficult and so is travelling half way around the world to do it. Or he’s Justin Thomas and just won’t care. Too many questions for me right now so enjoy an easy top 20 ticket.

Joaquin Niemann (+2000): Last top 25 was P2 at Rocket Mortgage in July.

Tommy Fleetwood (+2800): Skinny win ticket. Anytime he leaves the US his game perks up.

30-1 or Worse

Rickie Fowler (+3000): Can’t see how you can’t after last week. He was run down by two of the best in the world but getting the lead after 54 was most important. 3 way action.

Jhonattan Vegas (+3000): Hasn’t won in his last 100 or so starts but playing more than decently.

Maverick McNealy (+3000): Top 20 and cash. No longer comfortable at home, time to get back to work on the road.

Alex Noren (+3500): Burned me last week. Won’t get fooled again. Didn’t fire on unfamiliar greens at The Summit Club.

Keegan Bradley (+3500): Top 10 and Top 20 as his main weapons are the weapons of choice this week.

CT Pan (+4000): Last time he was in Japan he took home Bronze. Last time he was playing golf he cashed T11 at SFC. And before that T6 on Bentgrass at Silverado.

Emiliano Grillo (+4000): Made 3 bogeys last week and closed with 61 (-11).

KH Lee (+5000): Run of form has been steady. Another Top 20.

Lanto Griffin (+5500): Ton of similar type values in this range. T6 LTO helps.

Harry Higgs (+6600): #HiggsHeater and he survived Vegas.

Adam Schenk (+6600): Too many good ones recently and loves Bent.

Henrik Norlander (+8000): Pound it tee to green.

Robert Streb (+10000): Something brewing this time of year usually.

Funny Money

Sung Kang (+10000)

Andrew Putnam (+12500)

Tomaharu Otsuki (+16000)

Sepp Straka (+16000)

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out through Twitter or email me mikeglasscott@gmail.com.

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