Zozo Championship Picks & Odds: Bet Min Woo Lee, Ryo Ishikawa in Japan

Zozo Championship Picks & Odds: Bet Min Woo Lee, Ryo Ishikawa in Japan article feature image

Via Getty Images. Pictured: Ryo Ishikawa (left) and Min Woo Lee (right).

Click to expand Zozo Championship Odds via bet365
GolferZozo Championship Odds
Xander Schauffele+700
Collin Morikawa+1200
Sungjae Im+1500
Rickie Fowler+1700
Hideki Matsuyama+1700
Min Woo Lee+1700
Sahith Theegala+1900
Cameron Davis+2200
Keegan Bradley+2200
Adam Scott+2700
Eric Cole+3200
Beau Hossler+3800
Adam Schenk+4500
Alex Noren+4500

GolferZozo Championship Odds
Adam Svensson+5000
Nicolai Hojgaard+5000
Thomas Detry+5000
Vincent Norrman+5000
Cameron Champ+5000
Emiliano Grillo+5500
J.J. Spaun+5500
Kyoung-Hoon Lee+6000
Aaron Rai+6500
Keith Mitchell+6500
Tom Hoge+6500
Takumi Kanaya+7000
Matt Wallace+7500
Ryo Hisatsune+7500
Kurt Kitayama+7500
Nick Taylor+7500
Joel Dahmen+7500
Ben Griffin+8000
S.H. Kim+8000
Taylor Moore+8000
Mark Hubbard+8000
Keita Nakajima+8000
Sam Ryder+8500
Garrick Higgo+8500

GolferZozo Championship Odds
Justin Suh+9000
Callum Tarren+9000
Taylor Montgomery+9000
Akshay Bhatia+9000
Lee Hodges+9000
Austin Eckroat+10000
Sam Stevens+10000
Michael Kim+10000
Davis Riley+10000
Dylan Wu+11000
Brandon Wu+11000
Hayden Buckley+11000
Nick Hardy+12000
Mackenzie Hughes+12000
Matthew Nesmith+12000
David Lipsky+14000
Nate Lashley+16000
Kevin Yu+17500
Andrew Novak+17500

GolferZozo Championship Odds
Harry Hall+20000
Aaron Baddeley+22500
Justin Lower+22500
Will Gordon+22500
Taiga Semikawa+30000
Zac Blair+30000
Robby Shelton+30000
David Lingmerth+30000
Ryo Ishikawa+30000
Shugo Imahira+30000
Yuki Inamori+35000
Ryutaro Nagano+40000
Satoshi Kodaira+40000
Ben Taylor+50000
Young-Han Song+60000
Tyson Alexander+60000
Trevor Werbylo+100000
Aguri Iwasaki+100000
Mikumu Horikawa+125000
Kensei Hirata+125000
Kaito Onishi+200000

In the previous three editions of the Zozo Championship which have been held at Narashino Country Club, a 7,079-yard course in Chiba, Japan, Tiger Woods, Hideki Matsuyama and Keegan Bradley have come out on top.

Perhaps that offers a glimpse into what we might expect this week.

Woods was – somehow – listed at 40/1  before the tournament, while local favorite Matsuyama was 10/1, and Bradley was 30/1 — each a bit longer than perhaps they should’ve been in retrospect, against a smaller field that is often backloaded with some players who aren’t quite world-class.

The other common bond is that all three were among the world’s best from tee-to-green at the time of their wins as they made enough birdies to finish in that 15-to-19-under range which has proven to be enough to win on this golf course.

Keeping that in mind, let’s get to this week’s edition of the Zozo, where I’ll be starting my card with another tee-to-green sensation who should be primed to take the next big step in his career.

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Zozo Championship Picks

Outright Winner (Short odds)

One player to win the tournament

Min Woo Lee (+2000)

There were a few players right around this 20/1 number who piqued my interest – including Sungjae Im, Cam Davis and defending champion Keegan Bradley – but I decided to go with Min Woo Lee based on a personal tiebreaker.

During this time of year, motivation becomes a major factor, and while there’s no strokes gained analytic to measure it, we should be able to gauge which players are just a bit hungrier for an autumnal victory. None of that is to suggest that Im, Davis, Bradley or anyone else in this field doesn’t want to win, but Lee is a young player who’s come close a few times and seems hellbent on making it happen sooner rather than later.

As evidence, perhaps, he posted four top-five finishes in six non-PGA Tour starts from October to December last year and is fresh off a victory at the SJM Macao Open on the Asian Tour this weekend, during which he posted rounds of 62-65-64-63.

In his last 10 worldwide appearances prior to that, the Australian had gained strokes both off the tee and on the greens in nine of ‘em. That feels like a pretty good recipe for success for this one. There’s still a bit of an all-or-nothing feel to Lee – in other terms, he simultaneously owns a high ceiling and low floor – but as we so often say when betting outrights, the ceiling should be our only concern.

With finishes of 21st or better in each of the four majors over the past two years, competing against a few studs in this field should be of little bother to Lee. With a win this week, the 25-year-old will send out notice that he’ll be a player to watch in some more big-time fields next year, as well.

Outright Winner (Long odds)

One player to win the tournament

Ryo Ishikawa (+40000)

Look, it would have been much easier for me to pick a player such as Tom Hoge (+5000) or Cameron Champ (+7000) – both of whom I also like – for this category, but in the true spirit of the long-shot selection, I couldn’t bypass Ryo Ishikawa at a massive price in just a 77-man field.

Two things can be stated about the player once referred to as the Bashful Prince: You probably remember him as a can’t-miss phenom on the PGA Tour, and you probably haven’t heard his name in years. Now 32, he did play this year’s U.S. Open (finishing in 63rd place) but plies his craft almost entirely in his native Japan, where he’s carved a niche as a very good player who doesn’t have the spotlight on him that he once did.

Ishikawa first won on the Japan Golf Tour as a 15-years-old, turned pro at 17, almost immediately started peeling off more victories on that circuit, finished runner-up in a PGA Tour event at 20 and spent subsequent years competing in the U.S. while being followed by a media contingent that often dwarfed the one following every other player in the field.

It would be simple enough to proclaim that this can’t-miss kid did indeed miss, but the truth is that he was a solid PGA Tour player for a handful of years – especially considering his age – and has become one of the better players on the JGT in recent seasons.

For your 400/1 investment, you’ll get a player with a runner-up finish in his most recent start, top-20 results in five of his last seven and someone less than a year removed from his most recent victory.

No, he hasn’t been competing against the likes of Collin Morikawa and Xander Schauffele, and yes, there’s a very good chance that against a field of U.S.-based stars, he proves why he’s near the bottom of this board. At this number, though, it’s worth a little sprinkle to see whether he can prove something else this week instead.

Other OADers

Potential selections for one-and-done pools

Adam Schenk (+3500)

I’m admittedly having some trouble even typing Adam Schenk’s name after he was my favorite outright selection last week and missed the cut. Really, he was just undone by an opening round that included five birdies that were nullified by six bogeys; his ball-striking numbers were fantastic during a second-round 68 the next day.

With that in mind, I’ll absolutely go back to him for an investment this week, as I believe he holds plenty of upside in an event where he finished T16 last year.

Tom Hoge (+5500)

Tom Hoge was yet another player who was running hot and trending nicely going into last week, only to miss the cut. He essentially hit the Schenk blueprint in reverse – great ball-striking numbers in the opener and poor ones in the second round to miss the cut when seemingly everyone else was going low.

But that’s not enough to scare me off for this week at a tourney where he was T9 a year ago.

Zozo Championship Placement Bets

Top Five

One player to finish in the top five

Sungjae Im (+300 for Top-Five Finish)

We last heard Sungjae Im’s name a few weeks ago when he teamed with Si Woo Kim to win a gold medal at the Asian Games, reducing his eventual mandatory military service in his native South Korea from nearly two years to two weeks, which means it won’t derail his burgeoning career.

Having that weight lifted from his shoulders didn’t serve Si Woo very well last week, as he posted a pair of over-par scores to miss the cut, but it would hardly be a surprise to see Im play looser on a course where he’s had some success, finishing T3 four years ago.

Top 10

One player to finish in the top 10

Cameron Champ (+400 for Top-10 Finish)

In last week’s preview, I wrote about liking Cameron Champ for a first-round leader wager … so it only stands to reason that he led after the second round instead. Weekend scores of 74-65 left him in a share of 18th place, but my reason for optimism stems less from his play than his comments about it.

“I'm just in a way better head space, more free-spirited,” he explained. “Just kind of loving myself out there, having fun, and just enjoying the ups and downs.” Anytime we hear a talented player start to discuss himself in these terms, it’s worth taking notice. Champ’s ceiling is obviously massive – when he plays well he can win, as evidenced by his three career victories – so it’s worth backing up top-10 bets with an outright ticket, as well.

Top 20

One player to finish in the top 20

Hayden Buckley (+260 for Top-20 Finish)

I'm not sure this one would’ve jumped out at me if Hayden Buckley hadn’t been on my SiriusXM PGA Tour Radio show Hitting the Green a few weeks ago, but during that conversation, he spoke about dealing with a recent injury and putting some new equipment in the bag.

He also specifically mentioned his love for the Zozo Championship, where he finished in the top five a year ago. While results of MC-64th the past two weeks don’t offer a ton of optimism, I like taking a chance on a guy who’s truly excited about this week.

Zozo Championship DFS Picks

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A safe plug-and-play option for DFS lineups

Cam Davis

According to my Links + Locks podcast co-host and noted Aussie whisperer Ben Everill, Cam Davis doesn’t love either Las Vegas or TPC Summerlin or desert golf or some combination of all three, which is why we should take particular notice of his T7 finish there last week, when he didn’t post a single score higher than 67. Those types of numbers should have him challenging for a title this week.

DFS Mid-Tier

A medium-priced option for DFS lineups

Michael Kim

Last week, after I tweeted that Lexi Thompson’s odds were 2,500/1 at the Shriners Children’s Open, Michael Kim replied, “I’m afraid to look whether I have better or worse odds.”

He’s a fantastic follow on social media, often giving fans an introspective look into PGA Tour life – and yes, he owned much better odds than anything in the four digits, eventually finishing in a share of 18th place, thanks to a pair of 65s on the weekend. Those scores should have him flying overseas with plenty of confidence, and I believe he makes for a nice DFS piece in addition to a top-10 prop.

DFS ‘Dog

A lower-priced option for DFS lineups

Kevin Yu

With no cut this week, it’s worth attacking a few lower-priced players who are assured of playing 72 holes, and despite missed cuts in his last three starts, I’m still a big believer that Kevin Yu’s terrific ball-striking skills are going to pay off at some point.

Harry Hall would make some sense here, too, but the point remains: In a smaller field with no cut, don’t be afraid to play your favorite low-priced player – especially if it’s one who can make birdies in bunches.

First-Round Leader

One player to post the low round Thursday

Keegan Bradley (+2800 for FRL)

One week after Tom Kim went back-to-back at the Shriners, it’s worth looking at this week’s defending champion to replicate that feat – or at least come close.

Keegan Bradley hasn’t played since the Tour Championship, which also means he hasn’t played since the Ryder Cup. It would be unwise to believe he still doesn’t have a little something to prove to those who left him off the U.S. roster this year.

Matchup Man

One player who should beat comparable players

Beau Hossler (+3500)

There was a point on Sunday, with the final pairing looking a bit stagnant on the front nine, when it seemed like there was a path for Beau Hossler to earn his first PGA Tour victory. Instead, he played the final seven holes at even par and finished in a share of seventh place, but he’s playing some of the best golf of his career right now, with top-30 results in seven of his last eight starts.

Against the likes of Emiliano Grillo, Vincent Norrman and J.J. Spaun at similar numbers, Hossler’s floor should make him a strong play in head-to-head matchups.

Also Receiving Votes

Other players who should provide value

Sahith Theegala (+2200), Thomas Detry (+3500), Nicolai Hojgaard (+3500), Taylor Moore (+6500), Takumi Kanaya (+7500), Harry Hall (+13000)

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