The PGA TOUR travels to Japan for the second tournament in Asia and first installment of the ZOZO Championship at Accordia Golf Narashino Country Club in Inzai, Japan. Players like Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods will make their season debut in another no-cut event this week.
Accordia Golf Narashino Country Club will play as a par 70 measuring 7,041 yards and again be putt on Bentgrass greens. The course features tree-lined fairways, half-a-dozen dogleg holes and undulating greens, which should be moderately easy to hit this week. A ton of distance won’t be needed, but like last week, the course might be vulnerable to windy conditions. There are decent leverage bets on the board if the weather turns for the worst, so let’s get to it.
Xander Schauffele to Win +2500
Schauffele will tee it up for the first time this season in a no-cut event, a format he excels in. Xander already has registered wins in a World Golf Championship (WGC) event, the Tournament of Champions and the Tour Championship in his short career. Schauffele ranks inside the top 12 in Strokes Gained: Off-the-Tee and inside the top 25 in Strokes Gained: Approach-the-Green over his past six tournaments. Another interesting fact is Schauffele’s mother is from Taiwan but grew up in Japan. Take it for what it’s worth.
Shane Lowry to Win +6000 | Top-5 +1100
Lowry should be the “weather” leverage play this week, and it’s not only because he won The Open Championship in terrible weather last season; he has done it throughout his career, ranking 27th in SG: Ball-Striking and seventh in birdie or better gained over his past 36 rounds in extremely windy conditions. He also should be able to rely on his flatstick this week, ranking eighth in SG: Putting on Bentgrass greens over the past 36 rounds.
Ryan Palmer to Win +10000 | Top-5 +1600
Palmer finished inside the top 12 at the CJ Cup and brings his solid ball-striking to Japan, ranking 25th in Strokes Gained: Approach-the-Green over his past three tournaments. He’s struggling with his par 4 scoring average but ranks first in par 5 efficiency from 550 to 600 yards over his past 12 rounds. With solid finishes at course corollaries like the Honda Classic and The Valspar Championship, Palmer should be a solid value play at his price this week.
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