ZOZO Championship preview and betting tips by Danny Speck
ZOZO Championship Golf Tips
Collin Morikawa 3pts 14/1
Mito Pereira 1pt 40/1
Sebastian Muñoz 1pt 45/1
Aaron Rai 0.5pts 80/1
The PGA TOUR heads back to Japan for the fourth iteration of the ZOZO Championship. Once again, it will have a 78 man field with no cut. Japan’s very own Hideki Matsuyama will return to defend his title he won last year when winning by five shots. Other notables amongst the field are world number six Xander Schauffele, South Korea’s Sungjae Im, Collin Morikawa looking to win for the first time in 2022 and Shriner’s winner Tom Kim and many more in what is an impressive renewal. We return to Accordia Golf Narashino Country Club, a 7,079 yard parkland par 70 located east of Tokyo.
Matsuyama won last year’s event on -15 whilst players who finished 7th finished on a score of -6. It seems tough to predict the winning score this week but I would aim towards around -12. Tiger Woods and Matsuyama won the two ZOZO Championship events to take place in Japan, while Patrick Cantlay won the event in 2020, which was moved to Sherwood, California. Unfortunately, there is no strokes gained data to look back on for the two events in Japan but with it being a small, tight parkland track, look for players who drive the ball well and are hitting greens on a regular basis.
Collin Morikawa 14/1
First on my list this week is world number nine and two-time major champion Collin Morikawa who has been showing some very encouraging signs of late. He finished a solid 5th in the first FedEx Cup playoff event at the FedEx St Jude and also played really well in the President’s Cup when winning two points out of a possible three. He finished 7th in the renewal of this event last year at the same course which also improves his chances this week and at 14/1 I rate him a solid bet.
Mito Pereira 40/1
Next up is the Chilean Mito Pereira who came back to form last week in the Shriner’s with a tied 4th place finish where he ranked 1st on SG: Approach and 2nd SG: T2G. He’s had a solid year but he’ll be desperate to get that first PGA Tour win after completely blowing the PGA Championship in May with a double bogey on the last hole after driving it into the water off the tee. It’s his debut in this event this week but I don’t see that as being much of an issue if he brings his a-star iron game like he did last week.
Sebastian Muñoz 45/1
Muñoz was in my staking plan to begin with at the Sanderson Farms before he withdrew after his stellar performance in the President’s Cup when taking down world number one Scottie Scheffler in the singles on Sunday. Muñoz finished 4th here last year albeit nine shots worse off than eventual champion Hideki Matsuyama but nevertheless that’s a top-five finish at a tough track at Accordia and it will surely give him extra confidence going into this week. At 45/1 I really like his price as I was expecting him to be priced up around the 33/1 mark so I think he’s definitely worth a bet.
Aaron Rai 80/1
Last up for me is Englishman Aaron Rai who is enjoying a solid year on the PGA Tour and loves a short tree-lined course which is what we have in store this week. Rai finished 20th in Vegas last week at the Shriner’s and ranked 2nd on Approach and 16th T2G, so clearly he’s striking the ball to a good standard which is what will be needed this week. He’s another player who is making his debut in the ZOZO this week but at 80/1 he’s worth having on side.