Following a one-year stint in California, the ZOZO Championship returns to Accordia Golf Narashino Country Club (par 70, 7,073 yards) in Chiba, Japan this week. This club hosted the inaugural ZOZO Championship two years ago, when Tiger Woods took home the top prize with a winning number of -19, three shots better than runner-up Hideki Matsuyama. Accordia is a tree-lined par 70, that requires accuracy off the tee and strong iron play. When Woods captured the 82nd title of his career here two years ago, tying Sam Snead’s record for the most career wins in PGA history, the 45-year-old led the field in SGT2G, ranked third in GIR and seventh in fairways found. Accordia isn’t your traditional par 70, as it is home to five par 3s, three par 5s and 10 par 4s. Still, efficiency on the par 4s is the most crucial at this track, and when Woods won the ZOZO Championship in Chiba two years ago, he finished fourth in SG on the par 4s. Lastly, the greens at Accordia are bentgrass, and catching fire on these putting surfaces is going to be a must to contend, certainly making players with positive splits on bentgrass sharp targets.
Like last week’s CJ Cup, the ZOZO Championship is a no-cut styled tournament that features 78 players, albeit a much weaker field overall. With no cutline to stress about, stars and scrubs lineup builds are my preferred route for roster construction this week, and below are four sub 7.5K value plays I will be attacking for the ZOZO Championship.
Henrik Norlander, $7,400
Mostly credited to stellar ball striking, Norlander has made eight of his last 10 cuts, with a pair of top-5 finishes coming in his past four events. When we compare this field’s last 12 rounds, no player has gained more strokes T2G or on APP than Norlander. Plus, he ranks 10th in bogeys avoided and 11th in BOB% over this span.
In this compelling form, Norlander is currently tied for the best odds to win the ZOZO Championship on the DraftKings Sportsbook of all the golfers priced less than $7,500. The Swede is simply too cheap right now and should expose this weak field for at least a top 30.
Andrew Putnam, $6,700
Putnam is coming off a brilliant performance with his irons. At the Shriners Open two weeks ago, the 32-year-old gained a career-best 6.3 strokes on APP, lifting him to a T11 finish. Furthermore, Putnam ranked 11th in SG on the par 4s and 11th in bogeys avoided for the tournament. This marked his third made cut in his past four starts, and now Putnam will look to build off this performance at the ZOZO Championship.
For this field, he ranks 16th in total strokes gained over his last 100 rounds at no-cut events, and we recently saw Putnam flash great upside on another par 70 in TPC River Highlands for the Travelers back in June, with a T13 finish.
Jimmy Walker, $6,600 As of late, Walker has found some serious life in his game, finishing 11 th at the 3M Open, 45 th at the Sanderson Farms and 24 th at the Shriners Open, in that order. His ball striking has been outstanding during this run, ranking ninth in SGT2G and 16 th in SG APP over his last 12 rounds, which has led to Walker being an excellent fantasy asset, ranking fourth in DKFP. At this low of a cost, rolling the dice on the previous major winner makes a ton of sense this week, particularly when you factor in he will surely come with little ownership. In his last three starts, the veteran has only been owned by 0.2% of the field in DraftKings’ main GPP of the week.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Jimmy Walker has withdrawn from the ZOZO Championship.
Ryosuke Kinoshita, $6,200
Kinoshita is one of the best players on the Japan Tour and should easily out perform this near minimum salary in his home country. The 30-year-old just won back-to-back tournaments in June and has produced five top-10 finishes in his past six starts in Japan. Kinoshita is the Japan Tour’s current money leader and statistically he has been a stud, leading the Tour in GIR% and ranking third in scoring average.
His incredible 2021 campaign has moved him up a whopping 168 spots in the world golf rankings to a career-best No. 72. Kinoshita is an excellent punt this week that shouldn’t be a common name in large tournaments.
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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is Hunta512) 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.
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