2022 ZOZO CHAMPIONSHIP Updated Odds & Picks: Bet Mito Pereira, Tyrrell Hatton & Davis Riley in Japan
David Cannon/Getty Images. Pictured: Mito Pereira.
- The ZOZO CHAMPIONSHIP kicks off late Wednesday night in the United States with 78 players in this no-cut event.
- Xander Schauffele is favored, but our analyst is eying four outright bets at longer odds.
- Check out Joshua Perry's picks and analysis below.
Click arrow to expand 2022 ZOZO CHAMPIONSHIP odds via bet365
|Si Woo Kim||+2800|
We were sort of in it at TPC Summerlin, but it appears there's no slowing Tom Kim at the moment.
Matthew NeSmith ended up finishing second when all was said and done, but it was really down to Kim and Patrick Cantlay on the back nine on Sunday.
Now we head to Japan for the ZOZO CHAMPIONSHIP with a no-cut event that includes about a dozen members of the JGTO (Japan Golf Tour) sprinkled in with some of the PGA TOUR regulars.
Narashino Country Club measures out at a little more than 7,000 yards for a par 70, so it’s relatively short on paper. However, this course has five par 3s under 200 yards, which masks some of the length here. All the par 5s are more than 560 yards, and there are also five par 4s of 480 yards or longer.
Narashino features fairly tight, tree-lined fairways, so Total Driving will be more important this week than simply bombing it out there. Each hole also has multiple small greens, which is something we’ve never seen on TOUR.
Tournaments in Japan are rarely birdie fests. We usually get around 12-under as a normal winning score. The talent will be better this week, so I’m expecting something in the mid-teens, even though Tiger Woods did reach 19-under three years ago.
My focus will just be on ball-striking. We’ll need guys who can stay out of the trees but are also long enough to attack some of these par 4s and par 5s. Being dialed in with the irons will be key; there won’t be much room to miss on some of the putting surfaces.
Tiger and Hideki Matsuyama showed that in 2019 in the first year here, then Matsuyama repeated that performance in an easy win last year. They both distanced themselves from the field and relied on their strength on approach.
Xander Schauffele and Sungjae Im opened at +800 and +900 to top the odds board. Schauffele's best result here was 10th in 2019, while Im finished a distant third that season behind the Tiger/Hideki duel. The form is where you'd like for both. Im and Xander both had their moments at the Presidents Cup, and Im followed up with a seventh in Las Vegas last week.
We also have a strong group in the +1600-1800 range that features the defending champ Matsuyama, Collin Morikawa, Tom Kim, Viktor Hovland and Cameron Young.
Matsuyama in this range is going to be popular given his past results here. Morikawa is also a good fit and finished seventh last year. This course also sets up well for Kim who is going to do a lot of damage when accuracy both off the tee and with the irons is required. He doesn't have the length that some of the other young guys have, but he's already shown the rest of the game is ready for this level.
Tyrrell Hatton and Corey Conners wrap the top of the board in the +2000s. Conners' iron play should be good here, but it's Hatton who starts my card at +2700 on FanDuel. Hatton has quietly found a little success back in Europe with top 10s in Italy and Scotland as his game has begun to turn back around with top 25s in six of his last eight starts.
We'll start this range with Mito Pereira at +3700 on FanDuel. Approach is the focus this week, and Pereira led the field in Las Vegas with the irons on his way to finishing fourth. The irons have been his strength since making the leap to the PGA TOUR. With many of the best players away, this seems like a fair price for a guy who has the skill set to contend here.
I'll close this spot out with Davis Riley at +6600 on BetRivers. Riley's talent is known at this point as he flashed all aspects of his game in his rookie year. He drives it well, his irons are great, and he's usually a good putter. We've seen him at shorter prices than this in stronger, full field events, so I think it's worth a chance just backing the talent at this price in a limited field with many of the stars absent.
We've only seen this course twice, and the big names have had their way so far, but I'll take a chance down here with Aaron Rai at 100/1 on bet365. Only Pereira was better with the irons in Las Vegas than Rai, and short courses have always been the places where his wins have popped up on other tours. He doesn't have the length to consistently contend on some of the longer courses, but 7,000 yards with some tight fairways should be up his alley.
The ZOZO Card
- Tyrrell Hatton +2700 (1.22 units)
- Mito Pereira +3700 (.89 units)
- Davis Riley +6600 (.5 units)
- Aaron Rai +10000 (.33 units)
Total Stake: 2.94 units