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DraftKings DFS Fantasy Golf Cheat Sheet: 2022 PGA TOUR ZOZO CHAMPIONSHIP

Geoff Ulrich gets you set for the ZOZO CHAMPIONSHIP with winning trends and his picks for your DraftKings fantasy golf lineups.

2022 Presidents Cup - Day Three Photo by Warren Little/Getty Images

The Cheat Sheet provides DraftKings fantasy golf players with course info, player history and the most noteworthy trends of the week to help them with their roster selections.

Set your DraftKings fantasy golf lineups here: PGA TOUR $300K Pitch + Putt [$100K to 1st]


The Field

The PGA TOUR heads off the mainland for three of the next four weeks as the PGA TOUR will host events in Japan (for the ZOZO this week), Bermuda and Mexico over the next month. The only non-cut event of those three is this week in Japan, where a field of 78 golfers will tee things up for four rounds. This event was held in California in 2020 (where it was won by Patrick Cantlay, who is not in the field this week), but its initial running was won in Japan by Tiger Woods in 2019. Last year, the event returned to Chiba, Japan and was won by national hero Hideki Matsuyama who also finished runner-up to Woods in 2019.

The field this week is headlined by Americans Collin Morikawa and Xander Schauffele, who is the event favorite at +800 on the DraftKings Sportsbook. Schauffele won the Olympic gold medal in Japan in 2021 and loves these no-cut events. The event has an $11 million prize purse and features 15 of the world’s top 50 golfers. While there’s numerous sponsor’s exemptions and players from the Asian Tour in the field, there’s also a much deeper top end of talent available for fantasy purposes than we have seen in recent weeks.


The Course

ACCORDIA GOLF NARASHINO CC, Chiba, Japan

Par 70, 7,079 yards

This week’s venue comes to us from Chiba, Japan. The Accordia Golf Narashino Country Club plays as a shorter par 70 but features some quirky layout designs that will make it a unique test for players. The course features smaller than average bentgrass greens that will likely make for tough targets. Narashino is also unique in that it features two greens per hole (one for winter and one for summer) and players will get free drops if they, for some reason, hit the wrong green this week. Overall, green in regulation percentages have trended about 2-3% below the PGA TOUR average at this venue and should put an emphasis on iron play and short game this week.

Layout-wise, Accordia is also unique from most PGA TOUR par 70s in that it features five par 3s, two of which feature water. These par 3s should act as solid risk-reward holes for the players as poor shots could lead to double-or-worse (especially on the holes with water), while good shots can still be rewarded with birdies. All of the par 3s come in at under 200 yards, with three of them measuring between 175-200 yards in length. They do tend to play easier than most of the par 3s that we see on the PGA TOUR but staying away from the big numbers on these holes will be vital for success.

The rest of the course features a lot of par 4s, which measure in as an eclectic group. Five of the par 4s measure in at 450 yards or greater, however there are also several par 4s that play well under 400 yards in length and will require only iron shots off the tee. The venue is heavily tree-lined and features several doglegs, which makes it almost a certainty that players will need to be emphasizing accuracy a little more this week than pure power. Finding fairways at Accordia has also been tough as driving accuracy numbers have trended 8-10% lower than the PGA TOUR average in the two seasons it has hosted this event.

This venue should play similar to US venues such as Colonial or Hilton Head where small greens, doglegs and accuracy all take precedence over pure length. In 2019, Tiger Woods won here by being one of the leaders in fairways gained while also shooting the lights out with his irons (on what was a very wet course). Accuracy and elite iron play should be favored over power this week, so look for players really trending strongly in approach who you can rely on for being accurate off the tee.

2022 Outlook: The weather this week looks promising. There’s a small chance that the course does see some rain on Thursday afternoon. Some wind is expected as well, with the forecast calling for 10-15 mph in the afternoon on Thursday. With this being a no-cut event wave stacking won’t be of huge benefit but players with the earliest of tee times on Thursday could avoid the scheduled afternoon showers. Look for scoring conditions similar to last year making elite ball-striking a necessity for success once again.


Last 5 winners and Winning Trends

2021—Hideki Matsuyama -15 (over Brendan Steele -10)

*2020—Patrick Cantlay -23 (over Justin Thomas -22)

2019—Tiger Woods -19 (over Hideki Matsuyama -16)

*Played at Sherwood CC (not this week’s venue)

  • Tiger was playing his first fall event of the year when he won this event in 2019, and was coming off of two months of competitive rest.
  • The 2019 second-place finisher, Hideki Matsuyama, provides us with a little more info. He was busier around this time in 2019. His second-place finish to Tiger was preceded by a T3 finish at the CJ Cup and a T16 at the Shriners, so he had some momentum.
  • Matsuyama had also already posted a strong finish last season prior to his win at this event, grabbing a share of fifth at the Fortinet in 2021 just a couple weeks prior to playing in Japan.
  • As far as performance goes, we don’t have strokes gained metrics but Woods was top eight in fairways gained and GIR%. He was smart enough just to hit fairways at this shorter course and then had elite iron play and a putter that got red hot (led the field in PUTTS PER GIR).
  • From a putting perspective, this course does tend to yield fewer three-putts than an average venue so average putters could find a bump this week. With bentgrass greens in play, looking at splits on those types of surfaces is also a good idea.

Finding Values (DraftKings Sportsbook)

Odds to win are one factor to think about when picking players (but not the only thing, so be careful putting too much weight on them). This section is going to detail a few of the players who have the best fantasy value comparative to their DraftKings Sportsbook odds of winning this week.

Christiaan Bezuidenhout +3500 and $8,000

Comparables:

Lucas Herbert +5000 and $7,800

Comparables:

All odds provided by DraftKings Sportsbook and all odds subject to change.


Recent Form

1. Tom Kim ($9,700, Recent finishes: win-T54): He’s now won twice in four starts on the PGA TOUR and has gained over four strokes on approach in each of his last three starts. He committed no bogies last week, and the only thing slowing him down at this shorter venue will likely be the fatigue from dusting the field so handily last week.

2. Sepp Straka ($7,900, Recent finishes: 2nd - T7): Straka is playing some immense golf of late. He backed up his runner-up finish at the FedEx with another at the Sanderson Farms, and has shown elite irons and putting of late. He’s been a streaky player throughout his career, so a slight pullback soon should almost be expected.

3. Sungjae Im ($10,000, Recent finishes: T7-T2): Im’s form remains top notch. He’s now finished T15 or better in each of his last six starts and has three runner-up finishes over that span of play. He’s now gained over 6.0 strokes ball-striking and over 2.0 strokes putting in three straight starts.

4. Matthew NeSmith ($7,800, Recent finishes: T2-T9): NeSmith held his own in the final group last week, eventually landing a solid portion of second place at the Shriners behind an unbeatable Tom Kim. That’s two solid starts in a row for NeSmith whose iron play has really popped over the fall. He remains cheap this week, but whether he can string together a third strong week is worth questioning.

5. Tom Hoge ($8,600, Recent finishes: T4-T12): Hoge has really come on of late and is starting to establish himself as a consistent threat on the PGA TOUR. He gained 10 strokes ball-striking alone last week at the Shriners and ranks 10th in SG: Approach over the last 50 rounds. Hoge has three top-10 finishes over his last six starts.


DRAFTKINGS DFS STRATEGY

Cash Games: Hit it with Hovland

There’s good talent at the top of the board this week and Viktor Hovland ($9,500) stands out as a player who offers us immense value for DFS. Hovland is no stranger to playing overseas and all of his professional wins have come outside mainland USA. He’s just two starts removed from a T5 finish in England at the BMW PGA Championship and ranks ninth in SG: Ball Striking and seventh in DraftKings points gained over the last 50 rounds. Further down, you also have to love the $8,300 salary on Mito Pereira ($8,300). Pereira ranked first in strokes gained approach at the Shriners last week and has experience in Japan from the Olympics where he finished T4. Down the board, we’re also getting good numbers on Emiliano Grillo ($7,700), Russell Knox ($7,000 - see below) and Joel Dahmen ($7,000) for this format.


Tournaments: Keep playing Keegan

This will be the third time playing Accordia Country Club for Keegan Bradley ($8,900) in competition this year, and he’s produced T13 and T7 finishes in his first two visits. While Bradley’s ball-striking slipped late in the season, he’s traditionally a great iron player and gained 5.0 strokes ball-striking alone his last time out at the Sanderson Farms (T5). Staying in this range, if you want to keep playing the international trend from the President’s Cup, think about Sebastian Munoz ($8,100) in larger field lineups. He landed a T4 at this event last season and was T4 at the Japan Olympics back in 2021 on a similar styled course. Other potential GPP targets this week include Kevin Streelman ($7,300), Adam Long ($6,900) and Satoshi Kodaira ($6,400).


MY PICK: Collin Morikawa ($10,200)

Collin Morikawa could be coming in a little angry this week. It’s been over a year now since he last won on the PGA TOUR. While he showed us flashes of his brilliant self over the summer (T5 at The US Open and T5 at the FedEx St. Jude), his putting held him back all season. With the new season upon us, there’s no doubting he’ll be wanting to end this drought quickly, and there’s no better place than Accordia Country Club to do that. The technical venue sets up perfectly for Morikawa whose iron play and accuracy off the tee are the crux of his game. A runner-up at Colonial and a T5 this year at Augusta, also suggest that tree-lined venues with bentgrass putting surfaces, are where we should expect Morikawa to feel most comfortable.

Last season, the two-time major winner came to this event off a hard fought second-place finish in Las Vegas, and still managed a solid, albiet somewhat disappointing T7. This season, he’s coming in off a week of rest and should be looking to build off the momentum he built at the President’s Cup, where he went 2-1 for the week and won his singles match against Mito Pereira. Given the setup, if he finds confidence on the greens early, there’s no reason not to expect a sterling performance — and potential dominate win. At $10,200, he remains a solid core target for daily fantasy golf purposes and has a very good betting number at +1600 on the outright market on the DraftKings Sportsbook.


MY SLEEPER: Russell Knox ($7,000)

Despite the missed cut last week, it’s not hard to get bullish on Russell Knox for a quick bounce back. The Scotsman sets up perfectly for a more technical track like Accordia and is trending extremely well in the stat department. Knox is third in proximity on approach over the last 24 rounds. He gained over 4.0 strokes on approach in his first two fall events (prior to missing the cut last week). Considering the long flight this week, the missed cut at the Shriners could be a blessing in disguise, and Knox is a player who knows this part of the world quite well.

He won the biggest event of his career in the fall swing at the now defunct WGC HSBC Champions event in China (2015) — on another tree-lined venue that featured well manicured bentgrass greens. Knox’s price for DFS has also cratered this week to where he’s only 7k flat, which feels like a misprice given the overall weakness at the bottom of this field. At +700 on the DraftKings Sportsbook for a top 10, he’s a nice target for placement bets.

Set your DraftKings fantasy golf lineups here: PGA TOUR $300K Pitch + Putt [$100K to 1st]



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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is wavegoodbye) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.