2022 ZOZO CHAMPIONSHIP Updated Odds & Picks: Collin Morikawa & Mito Pereira Should Thrive in Japan
(Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images) Pictured: Collin Morikawa.
Click arrow to expand 2022 ZOZO CHAMPIONSHIP odds via bet365
|Si Woo Kim||+2800|
The PGA TOUR will head to Japan this week for just the third time in history to play the ZOZO CHAMPIONSHIP at Narashino Country Club. The event was played at the course in 2019 but had to move to Las Vegas in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic before returning to Narashino in 2021.
Narashino Country Club is a par 70 measuring 7,079 yards and features Bentgrass greens. The course has a unique design with five par 3s and three par 5s.
The ZOZO CHAMPIONSHIP is a no-cut event that features 78 golfers. The field is very strong this week, with a handful of PGA TOUR stars making the long trip to Japan. Those golfers include Xander Schauffele, Collin Morikawa, Hideki Matsuyama, Tommy Fleetwood, Tom Kim, Rickie Fowler, Viktor Hovland, Cameron Young, Tyrrell Hatton, Corey Conners and Sahith Theegala.
Past Winners at Narashino Country Club
- 2021: Hideki Matsuyama (-15)
- 2019: Tiger Woods (-19)
Let's take a look at several key metrics for Narashino Country Club to determine which golfers boast top marks in each category over their last 24 rounds.
Strokes Gained: Approach
Accordia Golf Narashino Country Club isn't a very long course. It is a positional track where finding the right spots to land the golf ball will create birdie opportunities. With the two winners at the course being Tiger Woods and Hideki Matsuyama, it's quite clear that accuracy with the irons will be crucial this week.
Total Strokes Gained: Approach in past 24 rounds:
- Tom Kim (+23.0) (+1400)
- Mark Hubbard (+22.2) (+6000)
- Corey Conners (+19.0) (+2200)
- Brendan Steele (+18.3) (+7000)
- Xander Schauffele (+17.8) (+800)
Good Drives Gained
Accordia Golf Narashino Country Club is a tree-lined golf course that is pretty tight off the tee. In 2019, we saw Tiger Woods win the event by keeping the ball in the fairway and intelligently plotting along the golf course.
Last year, hitting fairways was extremely difficult over the weekend. The course can't be overpowered, and good drivers of the golf ball should have the advantage.
Hideki Matsuyama gained 10.1 strokes in this category last year.
Total Good Drives Gained in past 24 rounds:
- Corey Conners (+27.9) (+2200)
- Collin Morikawa (+23.1) (+1600)
- Sungjae Im (+22.9) (+900)
- Troy Merritt (+22.0) (+10000)
- Xander Schauffele (+19.9) (+800)
SG: Putting (Bentgrass)
An interesting aspect of the course is its double greens. The course has two greens on each hole to enable golfers to use the course year-round as different seasons require different grass types.
The green complexes themselves are quite tricky, and good Bentgrass putters should have an advantage.
SG: Putting (Bentgrass) past 24 rounds:
- Christian Bezuidenhout(+30.0) (+3500)
- Beau Hossler (+25.1) (+13000)
- Patrick Rodgers (+18.8) (+13000)
- Maverick McNealy (+16.0) (+3500)
- Viktor Hovland (+14.8) (+1800)
Strokes Gained: Par 3
With five par 3s on the course, it is even more important than usual for golfers to play them efficiently.
Total SG: Par 3 in past 24 rounds:
- Tom Kim (+14.4) (+1600)
- Stephen Jaeger (+12.6) (+10000)
- Adam Long (+10.1) (+10000)
- Hideki Matsuyama (+9.5) (+1600)
- Satoshi Kodaira (+8.9) (+25000)
Greens in Regulation: Gained
Last year, Narashino Country Club played very difficult. Hitting greens in regulation was incredibly beneficial, and Matsuyama did so consistently. He gained 15 strokes on the field in the category, which was six strokes better than the next best.
Greens In Regulation: Gained in past 24 rounds:
- Xander Schauffele (+31.9) (+800)
- Adam Long (+30.0) (+10000)
- Sungjae Im (+26.7) (+900)
- Corey Conners (+26.5) (+2200)
- Brendan Steele (+25.9) (+7000)
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 (25%) Good Drives Gained: (23%), Greens in Regulation: Gained (21%), SG: Par 3 (16%), SG: Putting (Bentgrass) (15%).
- Sungjae Im (+900)
- Emiliano Grillo (+5000)
- Xander Schauffele (+800)
- Corey Conners (+2200)
- Mark Hubbard (+6000)
- Tom Kim (+1600)
- Mito Pereira (+3500)
- Collin Morikawa (+1600)
- Adam Long (+10000)
- Taylor Moore (+7000)
ZOZO Championship Best Bets
Collin Morikawa (+1600,DraftKings)
Collin Morikawa had a disappointing 2021-2022 season by his lofty standards. He had six top-five finishes but failed to truly thrust himself into contention on a consistent basis. The two-time major winner should be in store for a better season starting this week in Japan.
Morikawa has already shown he can play well in Japan, having finished in a tie for fourth at the Tokyo Olympics and seventh at Narashino Country Club last year. The 25-year-old is half-Japanese and has expressed in the past how special it is to play in front of the Japanese fans who are some of the most passionate golf fans in the world.
Narashino Country Club is the type of track that Morikawa should continue to excel on. It is a difficult driving course, and his driving accuracy should keep him in the tight tree-lined fairways. He ranks second in the field in Good Drives Gained and will be able to strategically plot around the golf course similar to how we saw Woods tackle the course in 2019.
While still great, Morikawa's iron play was not quite at the level we've come to expect last season. He gained 5.2 strokes on approach at the TOUR Championship in his most recent start and went 2-1 at the Presidents Cup, easily taking down Mito Pereira in his Sunday singles match. If his iron play is indeed back to his previous form, Morikawa will have a strong chance to start his season off with a victory in Japan.
Mito Pereira (+3500, DraftKings)
I was high on Pereira's chances last week at the Shriners Children's Open, and he didn't disappoint. He finished in a tie for fourth place and led the field in Strokes Gained: Approach (+9.1).
Narashino Country Club should be an excellent fit for what he does well. As past winners at the course have shown, it is crucial to be able to gain strokes with irons and put the ball on the correct level of the complex greens. Both Woods and Matsuyama excel with their iron play, and as we saw last week, Pereira's irons are in peak form right now.
The Chilean also showed he is comfortable playing in Japan, where he finished in a tie for fourth at the Tokyo Olympics.
We saw Pereira miss a handful of short putts after getting in contention last week. If he can find a way to turn those near misses into makes, he can finally breakthrough for his first PGA TOUR victory.