Zozo Championship Betting Tips
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Rob Cobley’s Zozo Championship Betting Tips
Zozo Championship Course
Accordia Golf Narashino Country Club, Chiba, Japan. Par 70, 7,041 Yards
This tournament is the first event sanctioned by the PGA Tour in Japan, in a deal that will last until at least 2025. Tiger Woods won the inaugural event for his 82nd PGA Tour victory, in the process tieing the all-time record set by Sam Snead. In 2020, the tournament was moved to Sherwood Country Club in Lake Sherwood, California in October, due to ongoing travel restrictions because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Ultimately, the 2020 event became a sole-sanctioned PGA Tour event and had no involvement from the Japan Golf Tour. The tournament now returns to Japan in 2021 as well as being sanctioned by both the PGA Tour and the Japan Golf Tour.
This majestic venue is a traditional Japanese tree-lined parkland course. Small greens and tight fairways await players, with dog-legs a regular feature to negotiate. A mixture of devilishly long, and optimistically short par 4 holes will test the players ability to play this one tactically, with accuracy sure to be at a premium, with putting also critical in what will likely be a low scoring event.
Zozo Championship Previous Winners
2020: Patrick Cantlay -23 2019: Tiger Woods -19
Zozo Championship Market Leaders
Xander Schauffele (11/2) is the, for me, surprising favourite here this week in the Orient. Xander returned to stroke play golf last week with an 18th in the California desert at Summit, and looked pretty sharp, but this seems a short price, even in a reduced field. Back in 2019, Schauffele finished 10th here, and while I have few doubts about his ability to tackle the course or contend, I am more put off by the price. He might well be thereabouts on Sunday, but I don't think we will get far backing Xander at this type of price, and therefore I am happy to look elsewhere despite his Olympics win in Japan during the summer.
The reason I question Schauffele as the favourite is that Colin Morikawa (13/2) has been playing far better golf, and shot a stunning front nine of 27 on Sunday at Summit before failing in his quest to hunt down runaway leader Rory McIlroy. Morikawa was 22nd out here two years ago, and is of course a far more complete player, and a Major Champion (as is Schauffele of course) since that time. He looks the in form player in the field, and is as capable as Xander of going low. He leads the claims for me this week.
Hideki Matsuyama is the home favourite, and will be looking to get back to winning ways on home soil after the disappointment of Tokyo. He finished 2nd here in 2019, and although his form has been poor, he should love the set up, and will not be lacking in motivation. At twice the price of the leading American duo, he looks relatively good value.
Rob's Tips for the Zozo Championship
Keegan Bradley is a player that I've picked out in this column on more than one occasion, and not without success. The 35-year-old American seems to have been around far longer than his years suggest, and has been playing some good golf over the past 12 months, including two top 15s in his last five starts. Bradley is not averse to travel, and has enjoyed success all around the world. He played this event back in 2019, finishing a respectable 13th when he was deep in his dark and poor run of form, and I expect an even stronger showing this time around. Keegan will love the challenge of the tough, slopey fairways and greens. He shapes the ball well and will be able to set up a lot of birdie chances. He putted well last week; despite finishing 38th he was in the top 10 for strokes gained putting, and with his iron game being his biggest strength, it isn't hard to see it all coming together for Bradley this week. I suggest backing him with 3 Points e/w at 35/1.
Zozo Championship: Rob's Secondary Tip
C.T. Pan is a 29-year-old from Taiwan who picked up his first PGA Tour win last year at the RBC Heritage. Pan is a technically wonderful player who makes up for in accuracy and finnesse what he lacks in length. His win at Harbour Town was on the exact type of course where you would expect him to succeed, and the challenge awaiting around this par 70 in Chiba is incredibly similar. Pan did play this event back in 2019, finishing down in 58th place, but I expect a lot better from him this time around. His 11th placed finish last week was on the back of a 6th at the Fortinet the week before, and he comes in as one of the hottest and most in form players in the field. The conditions in Japan will feel familiar to him, having spent two years on the Japanese Tour, and I really like his chances here. I recommend backing him with 2 Points e/w at 45/1.
Following a rolling profit of 300 points for the 2019 & 2020 seasons, I am looking for a great 2021, and have some fantastic bets lined up for events throughout the year on both the PGA and European Tours. Each week I will pick between two to four selections at each event, and suggest a suitable staking plan.
|European Tour||+71 Points|
|PGA Tour||-105 Points|
|Total P/L||-34 Points|