2020 ZOZO Championship Betting Preview: Which Stats Matter Most This Week at Sherwood Country Club?

2020 ZOZO Championship Betting Preview: Which Stats Matter Most This Week at Sherwood Country Club? article feature image
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Matthew Bolt/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Russell Henley

After an exciting week of golf at Shadow Creek Golf Course, the PGA TOUR stays out West to play the ZOZO Championship at Sherwood Country Club in the Thousand Oaks area of California.

Like the CJ Cup, the ZOZO Championship was previously part of the TOUR’s Asian swing, but had to relocate this season due to the COVID-19 travel restrictions.

Last year, the ZOZO Championship was the first-ever tour event held in Japan and did not disappoint, with Tiger Woods earning his 82nd career victory, which tied legend Sam Snead’s record.

Sherwood Country Club is a Par 72 layout, measuring at 7,006 yards. The Jack Nicklaus-designed course features Bentgrass greens and features a unique layout, with five par 5 and five par 3 holes. The course was on the tour schedule from 2000-2013, when it hosted the Hero World Challenge.

This event had previously been an 18-man field, which should be taken into consideration when trying to find a correlation to this week’s tournament.

GolfBet

The ZOZO Championship will be another no-cut event, highlighted a  strong, 78-man field similar to what we saw at Shadow Creek. The most notable addition will be Woods. Historically, he has dominated Sherwood CC, recording five victories and five runner-up efforts in just 12 starts at the course.

Other notable additions include Adam Scott, Tony Finau and Webb Simpson.

Past Winners at The ZOZO Championship (Accordia Golf Narashino Country Club)

  • 2019: Tiger Woods (-19)

Past Winners at Sherwood Country Club ( Hero World Challenge)

  • 2013: Zach Johnson (-13)
  • 2012: Graeme McDowell (-17)
  • 2011: Tiger Woods (-10)
  • 2010: Graeme McDowell (-16)
  • 2009: Jim Furyk (-13)

Let’s take a look at several metrics for Sherwood CC to determine which golfers boast top marks in each category over their last 24 rounds:

Strokes Gained: Approach

Looking at the past winners at Sherwood CC, it’s evident distance won’t be as much of a factor this week. Golfers who can get dialed in with their irons should have a major advantage and I see approach as the most important statistic at this track. I would absolutely consider Sherwood CC to be a second-shot course.

Total strokes gained in category in past 24 rounds:

  1. Russell Henley (+24.4) (+5500)
  2. Matthew Wolff (+18.7) (+3300)
  3. Justin Thomas (+17.0) (+1200)
  4. Tiger Woods (+18.1) (+3300)
  5. Jason Kokrak (+17.5) (+3500)

Fairways Gained

Sherwood CC has tighter than average fairways, which will make driving accuracy incredibly important. This is not a course you can bomb and gouge, which means golfers will need to be more strategic when it comes to off-the-tee positioning. The short 7,006-yard course length may neutralize the strength of the TOUR’s longest drivers.

Total strokes gained in category in past 24 rounds:

  1. Brendon Todd (+45.0) (+10000)
  2. Tyler Duncan (+39.8) (+25000) 
  3. Corey Conners (+34.8) (+15000)
  4. Collin Morikawa (+30.4) (+2200)
  5. Sungjae Im (+27.7) (+5500)

Strokes Gained Putting: Bentgrass

Putting surface consistently seems to play a role in whether or not golfers have good putting weeks.

Last week, Jason Kokrak won in part because he gained 10.3 strokes putting to go along with a great tee-to-green performance. Kokrak has been a notoriously poor putter, but his best surface statistically is Bentgrass. This exemplifies the importance of looking at specialists on a particular surface.

Total strokes gained in category in past 24 rounds:

  1. Brendon Todd (+28.3) (+10000)
  2. Brian Harman (+23.1) (+10000)
  3. Mackenzie Hughes (+21.4) (+17500)
  4. Matthew Fitzpatrick (+18.1) (+3500)
  5. Patrick Reed (+18.1) (+2500)

Par 4: 400-450 Yards

Most of the Par 4s at Sherwood Country Club are short, measuring in the 400- to 450-yard range. This should create a lot of shorter wedge shots, even for golfers who don’t bomb it off the tee. Similar to last week at Shadow Creek, the best defense for this course is its challenging, undulating greens.

Total strokes gained in category in past 24 rounds (per round, minimum of 20 rounds):

  1. Russell Henley (+18.9) (+5500)
  2. Patrick Reed (+13.6) (+2500)
  3. Rory McIlroy (+10.6) (+1200)
  4. Joaquin Niemann (+11.4) (+4500)
  5. Jon Rahm (+8.6) (+1000)

Par 3: 175-225 Yards

The Par 3s at Sherwood CC are all fairly long, measuring between 168 and 232 yards.  With all five of the par 5s being relatively short, it won’t give much of an advantage to longer hitters. Therefore, I see the golfers who play the long par 3s this week well as those with the best chance to separate themselves.

Total strokes gained in category in past 24 rounds:

  1. Russell Henley (+7.4) (+5500)
  2. Harris English (+5.9) (+3500)
  3. Matthew Fitzpatrick (+4.4) (+3300)
  4. Collin Morikawa (+4.2) (+2200)
  5. Webb Simpson (+4.1) (+1800)

Statistical Model

Below, I’ve reported overall model rankings using a combination of the five key statistical categories previously discussed.

These rankings are comprised of SG: App (24%) Fairways Gained (24%); SG: Putting bentgrass (21%); Par 3:  175-200 (7%); SG: Par 3: 200-225 (7%); and, Par 4: 400-450 (16%)

  1. Matthew Fitzpatrick (+3500)
  2. Russell Henley (+5500)
  3. Kevin Kisner (+11000)
  4. Webb Simpson (+1800)
  5. Brian Harman (+10000)
  6. Joel Dahmen (+17500)
  7. Tyler Duncan (+25000)
  8. Collin Morikawa (+2200)
  9. Jason Kokrak (+3500)
  10. Justin Thomas (+1200)

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