Held annually in Japan just outside of Tokyo every year since 2019 (the 2020 event was held in the USA due to COVID), the ZOZO Championshionship is a 78-golfer no-cut event and currently the only PGA Tour event held in Asia. Despite the shortened field, this event has always attracted some of the world’s best players, and this year is no different as Xander Schauffele, Sungjae Im, and Tom Kim lead the way on the odds board.
With big names typically taking this event down as the three iterations thus far have shown, let’s take a closer look at this week’s field, course, and who is likely to bring home the championship.
Previous Winners of the ZOZO Championship
- 2021: Hideki Matsuyama
- 2020: Patrick Cantlay
- 2019: Tiger Woods
Course Preview: Narashino Country Club
Coming in at Par 70 and 7,041 yards, Narashino is known for being a tree-lined course that while short, plays very tight making accurate driving a key metric. This course is also known for having hard, Zoysia surfaces, making balls run longer than they do on your average Tour course in the United States. With five par threes and six holes featuring sharp doglegs, Narashino also features smaller-than-average greens.
As far as the greens go, bentgrass is the surface of choice, so we’ll be keying in on players who often find success with them. Always held during Japan’s rainy season, I’ll be keeping an eye on the weather reports as this week unfolds, as both 2019 and 2021’s events were affected by the weather.
Relevant Betting Stats
- Driving Accuracy
- SG: Putting on Bentgrass
- Birdie Average
Outright Betting Pick
Mito Pereira (+3500 on DraftKings Sportsbook)
Making his entrance into the seen after narrowly failing to win the PGA Championship last season (T3), Pereira finished out the year strong and earned his way into the 2022 Presidents Cup, where he played decently. In his first event of the season last week, Mito finished T4 in Las Vegas, as his ball striking was second to none throughout the week on his way to four straight days at 67 or below.
Currently #2 on Tour in Greens in Regulation % and Birdie Average, Mito is excelling in two metrics key for success anywhere, but especially here on the tight Narashino Country Club. With just two stops max here for players in the field, I’m putting less weight on course history than average, so this being his first time at Narashino shouldn’t be held against him.
I like for Mito to continue his torrid play to end 2021-22 with a high finish here again.
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