Seventy-eight of the best golfers from the PGA Tour and Japan Golf Tour are in Chiba, Japan this week for the inaugural Zozo Championship at Accordia Golf Narashino Country Club. Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods make their 2019-20 PGA Tour season debuts. Justin Thomas seeks his second straight win in Asia after claiming victory at last week’s CJ Cup at Nine Bridge in South Korea.
The key stats best tailored to the length and design of the course are:
- Strokes Gained: Off-the-Tee
- Strokes Gained: Approach
- Fairways Gained
- Strokes Gained: Par 4s
- Sand Saves Gained
My model at Fantasy National is set to the most recent 36 rounds played on courses with bentgrass greens for each golfer in the field.
Zozo Championship – Tier 1
Tony Finau (+2500)
Finau leads the field in SG: Off-the-Tee while ranking fifth in strokes gained on par 4s and eighth in SG: Approach. The No. 13 golfer in the Official World Golf Ranking is one of six tied for the sixth-lowest odds to win this week. His 2019-20 season started with a T-9 at the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open, and he’ll seek his sixth top-10 result of the calendar year.
Jason Day (+3300)
Day was the winner of Monday’s MGM Resorts The Challenge: Japan Skins. The Australian has slipped to No. 28 in the OWGR and is the third-ranked golfer from his own country, behind Adam Scott and Marc Leishman. He hasn’t won an official event since the 2018 Wells Fargo Championship, but he has already had success on the little-known course, and his odds weren’t significantly adjusted.
Zozo Championship – Tier 2
Corey Conners (+6600)
Conners ranks 12th by the stat model with a top rank of third in SG: Off-the-Tee. An excellent shot-placer, the Canadian will excel on the tight, tree-lined, doglegged fairways. He needs only an average performance on the relatively simple putting surfaces.
Shugo Imahira (+8000)
Imahira is one of the top golfers in the field from the Japan Golf Tour. The 27-year-old from Saitama Prefecture, Japan was last season’s leading money winner in Japan, and he ranks second this year. He’s a three-time winner on the JGT over the last three years. He leads his home tour in Scoring Average and Par or Better Percentage while ranking second in Greens in Regulation Percentage.
Zozo Championship – Longshots
Jazz Janewattananond (+15000)
Janewattananond is a four-time winner on the Asian Tour, with all victories coming since Feb. 2017. The 23-year-old from Thailand last won in June at the Kolon Korea Open. He tied for 14th at last year’s PGA Championship, proving he can compete in these star-studded fields.
C.T. Pan (+17500)
Pan ranks 11th by the stat model. He’s accurate off the tee and has a great approach game. He’s 58th by the OWGR following missed cuts at the Safeway Open and Shriners Hospitals for Children Open to start the year.
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