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DraftKings Fantasy Golf Picks: ZOZO CHAMPIONSHIP Predictions, Preview

Geoff Ulrich previews the ZOZO CHAMPIONSHIP and gives his picks for your DraftKings fantasy golf lineups.

PGA: BMW Championship - Final Round Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

The PGA TOUR heads over to Japan this week for the fourth iteration of the ZOZO CHAMPIONSHIP. This event has been held in Japan at the Accordia Golf Narashino Country Club in Chiba, Japan in two of the previous three seasons. The event was held in Los Angeles at Sherwood Country Club in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The field this week is limited to 78 players and this is a no-cut event, with all players getting in four rounds of play.

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


STRATEGY

This will only be the third time that the PGA TOUR pros will have played at Accordia Country Club, so we don’t have a ton of data to go off. What we do know is that the venue will play as a non-traditional par 70 at 7,079 yards. What makes Accordia unique is that there are five par 3s in play (one more than usual) and those par 3s all play well under 200 yards. These holes will put a bigger emphasis on short- to mid-iron play overall but won’t challenge the players as much as the longer par 3s we often see at more traditional PGA TOUR setups. Where Accordia gets difficult though is the par 4s.

There are five par 4s on the venue that stretch over 450 yards in length with the par 4 fifth hole playing at over 500 yards (it was the hardest hole by scoring average at this venue last year). Accordia is a heavily tree-lined setup that also implements several doglegs. Driving distance this week will be helpful, but the leaderboard in 2021 featured an eclectic group of players and was hardly dominated by big hitters. Accuracy is important this week and driving accuracy stats at Accordia have rated about 8-10% lower than the average PGA TOUR venue over its two years of play.

The course should allow players with excellent short games to prosper as well given the greens were somewhat difficult to hit last year, with GIR percentages trending around 2-3% lower than the PGA TOUR average. Elite iron players and good short-game specialists should find this track to their liking in the long term and that means it should line up well with some of the older PGA TOUR venues, such as Colonial and Hilton Head. Look for slightly higher scoring this week and for players trending with elite strokes gained approach numbers and around-the-green stats to win out here.


Collin Morikawa ($10,200)

Morikawa will be playing Accordia Country Club for the second time in competition this season and as a layout, it’s hard to imagine a track better suited to his skill set. The American remains quite possibly the best iron player in the world and, while his form dipped at points in 2022, he still gained 5.1 strokes on approach his last time out at the TOUR Championship in August. The two-time major winner still ranks second in overall proximity on approaches over the past 24 rounds and is first in proximity from 175-200 yards — which is the yardage that four of the five par 3s fall within this week.

Morikawa came to this event last season and finished a solid T7, but he enters this year’s edition coming off a week of rest and should be eager to make up for a winless 2021-22 season. As just the third most expensive player on the board, we’re getting a solid discount to use him as a core player for lineups on DraftKings this week.


Emiliano Grillo ($7,700)

Grillo has now posted three top-five finishes over his past eight PGA TOUR starts and ranks top 15 in this field in strokes gained putting, strokes gained approach and strokes gained tee-to-green stats over the past 24 rounds. Those are hefty numbers for the Argentine who has often struggled with consistency outside of his approach game. This will also be the third time Grillo will be playing Accordia in competition.

While his first couple of visits to this venue haven’t borne anything better than a T30 finish (2019) it should set up very well in the long term for a player who tends to dominate off the tee with accuracy instead of power and still possesses one of the most elite iron games on TOUR. Grillo’s lackluster finish last week should mean he’s well rested for the trip overseas and at under $8K in salary, he makes for a fine mid-tier target this week in daily fantasy.


Stephan Jaeger ($7,100)

For a lower-owned play in daily fantasy golf tournaments this week, don’t be afraid to take a look at Stephan Jaeger. The German was up near the lead in the middle of round two last week at the Shriners before a poor back nine took him out of contention for good. He recovered with a decent weekend though and has now made six cuts in a row in full-field events on the PGA TOUR, which is easily the best stretch of his career. His iron play has dipped a touch of late but he’s also third in strokes gained around the greens and is a short-game wizard who should benefit from a shorter and more technical layout. Ranked fourth in birdie or better percentage over the past 24 rounds, Jaeger has upside even if his in-event performance remains somewhat of a roller coaster, overall.

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 do not constitute a representation that any particular strategy will guarantee success. All customers should use their own skill and judgment in building lineups. 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.