2022 ZOZO Championship: Sungjae Im Among Golfers Worth Backing in Various Formats

2022 ZOZO Championship: Sungjae Im Among Golfers Worth Backing in Various Formats article feature image

Warren Little/Getty Images. Pictured: Sungjae Im.

You will hear this from me on multiple platforms this week, but the lack of trackable data at the ZOZO Championship makes for a complex handicapping process since so much of what I do is predicated on long-term research. My model is built and reconfigured under the premise of trying to mimic these venues to fit a statistical narrative, but the loss of numerical information leaves something to be desired.

We will see if any third-party resources give us something to use for the contest, but my biggest takeaway for the ZOZO Championship is to be methodical and reserved if you don't have an edge. Remember, no action is required unless some modicum of value presents itself and a bet not placed can often be as good as a winning ticket if it keeps us structured. We will talk a little about some value my model is interested in diving deeper into for the week, but be sure to play things intelligently!

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If you aren't doing so already, you can find me on Twitter @TeeOffSports. There I will provide my pre-tournament model, a powerful and interactive data spreadsheet that allows user inputs to create custom rankings for golf. That sheet is free and released every Monday, so be sure to check it out and construct your own numbers from my database of information.

Sungjae Im 

Look, I am not reinventing the wheel here by mentioning Sungjae Im — who is one of the favorites to walk out of Japan with the title — but the key factor worth mentioning is that any market that doesn't have Im favored in his matchup on Wednesday night is posting the wrong golfer as the favorite, according to my model.

That doesn't mean I am blindly looking to back him in every spot, and there are situations that will be better than others, but it is something to keep in mind for a player who ranks first in my model for weighted form over the past 10 weeks.

I took a complete encapsulation of every event someone has played since the Scottish Open and tried to extrapolate the form out to form a bigger picture, and there wasn't anyone in this field who graded as cleanly as Im, and to be fair, it is one of the safer profiles I have received on my model in quite some time. Im leads this field in consecutive rounds of shooting par or better (24) and the bogey avoidance and scrambling metrics also place him at the top of the event.

If you are telling me the winning score will likely take place somewhere around 15-under par, give me all the safety of the South Korean. There may be value on Im on day one against any golfer in the field, but also from a full-contest perspective.

Consider The High Upside Movers On My Model For Day One: Si Woo Kim, Mito Pereira, Rickie Fowler, Sebastian Munoz and Aaron Rai

The answer is more of a first-round leader concept than something I want to become overly invested in when it comes to head-to-head bets, but there are reasons to aggressively try to back Si Woo Kim, Mito Pereira, Rickie Fowler, Sebastian Munoz and Aaron Rai in different markets, including DFS showdown contests on Wednesday evening.

Whether it is a first-round leader bet or a daily DFS build, these are options that possess an incredibly high ceiling when trying to shoot for the moon — even if their floors are more volatile than some of their counterparts. It is important to remember the sort of contest you are entering since less aggressive approaches land in the cash-game area, whereas aggression is more suited for high-end results like outright bets and first-round leader concepts, but understanding the nuances of how to back a golfer is part of the equation to becoming a better bettor or DFS player.

Is There A Distance Advantage Thursday In Wetter Conditions?

Rain has been a heavy part of the picture leading into the start of this tournament, so does that mean distance might take more of a front-and-center approach if the conditions are soft?

I certainly believe that is a possibility since all three par-5s stretch between 562 and 608 yards. Also, five of the par-4s are behemoths in their own right, measuring 486 to 505 yards in each spot, meaning eight of the 18 holes will require a driver off the tee. If that is the case, look for golfers like Cameron Young, Luke List and perhaps even Dylan Frittelli to get an added boost on Thursday if conditions don't allow as much rollout to begin the week.

Regarding the chart above, the higher the number is when it comes to the impact of distance being needed, the more upgrade a player should experience when the conditions are soft. That list possesses the top 13 climbers in my model when distance received a boost in importance, suggesting all those names are more intriguing than they might have otherwise been on Wednesday. If I had a chance to rebuild my first-round leader card, I likely would have taken a more aggressive approach with some of these names.

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