For those who missed it, please check out the ZOZO Championship at Sherwood Preview and Betting Strategies for the types of golfers you should look to target for your bets. With that in mind, here’s the ZOZO Championship picks I like this week. (with odds courtesy of MyBookie.ag).
ZOZO Championship Picks:
Tyrrell Hatton – 20/1
Tyrrell Hatton should keep the good form rolling this week. Sherwood Country Club sets up like a traditional European Tour style golf course that rewards consistent, solid ball striking through its tight corridors. Hatton has gained 0.73 strokes per round with his irons over his last 40 rounds on the PGA Tour, one of the highest marks in the field. He also demonstrates winning upside putting occasionally, and he’s in a great spot to finish off the job at Sherwood Country Club.
Collin Morikawa – 22/1
Morikawa is back to the vintage form bettors know him as – a premium ball striker with a shaky putter. Once again, Morikawa finds himself at a golf course where tee-to-green he has a massive advantage over the field with his ball striking. He continued strong ball striking form last week at the ZOZO, only to once again fall short because of the flat stick. Bettors know he has winning upside putting in him to win tournaments. If that shows up, he can win yet again on the PGA Tour.
Patrick Reed – 22/1
Patrick Reed typically has trouble keeping his driver in control. That’s the one club in his bag that can give him a lot of problems on the golf course. Thankfully for him, many holes at Sherwood Country Club don’t require hitting driver off the tee. He also has a good history on similar golf courses to Sherwood Country Club like Muirfield Village, Innisbrook, and Sedgefield Country Club. All these places demand a player to keep the ball in play off the tee and premium iron play. Reed faltered on the weekend at the U.S. Open, but this week is shaping up like one where he will close the deal.
Matthew Fitzpatrick – 35/1
One of the knocks on Matthew Fitzpatrick is his inability to carry over solid ball striking from the European Tour to the PGA Tour. Over his last few tournaments, however, Fitzpatrick has righted the ship. Fitzpatrick has gained 0.55 strokes per round with his irons over his last 14 rounds, and he gained over 1.2 strokes per round with his approach shots last week at Shadow Creek. Bettors know that Fitzpatrick is one of the best putters in the world. If that is matched up with solid ball striking he is a threat to win for the first time on the PGA Tour.
Sungjae Im – 50/1
Sungjae is currently on a hot and cold streak. He followed up strong ball striking performances at the U.S. Open and the Shriners with two mediocre ones at the Sanderson and CJ Cup. Nevertheless, he has displayed good enough form recently for consideration at an outright win bet. After a mid-season slump, Sungjae’s form has returned with solid and consistent ball striking. While the putter has still been hit or miss, he demonstrated winning upside putting at the Sanderson to let the world know he has it in him. If he puts it all together this week, Sungjae’s odds at 50/1 are a solid value.
Other Positional Props
Webb Simpson Top 10 – +175
Webb Simpson is almost everyone’s go to selection for their pick to win this week. Anytime the PGA Tour travels to a golf course that places an emphasis on accuracy and iron play, Webb is one of the first golfers to come to mind as a favorite. A concern I have for him is that his ball striking has been a little overrated recently. Webb has only gained 0.07 strokes per round with his irons over his last four tournaments. That’s a very low clip for him. Regardless, he’s a good bet at +175 to finish inside the Top 10 because of the golf course fit.
Tiger Woods Top 10 – +300
There is very little buzz on Tiger Woods this week. Despite being a defending champion and a winner at Sherwood Country Club five times in his career, many cast doubt on his ability to contend this week. What some people aren’t considering is his streak of poor play has come on golf courses that don’t fit Tiger’s game anymore. Tiger doesn’t have the sheer power to compete on long, narrow golf courses with penal rough. Tiger is more suited for golf courses like Sherwood Country Club. It’s these places where he doesn’t have to hit a ton of driver and where his irons can excel are the ones he’s most primed to contend at. Surprising many this week, I expect Tiger to show very well and post a Top 10 finish ahead of the Masters.
Viktor Hovland Top 10 – +300
After another solid showing at the CJ Cup, Hovland’s strong play should continue for at least another week. Hovland’s ball striking has tremendously improved since a mid-season slump and should be very effective at Sherwood Country Club. Hovland has gained 1.05 strokes per round tee-to-green and 0.54 strokes per round with his irons over his last four tournaments. While he doesn’t yet demonstrate winning upside putting performances to bet for an outright win, +300 on a Top 10 performance is a great bet.
Joaquin Niemann Top 20 – +150
After a few dodgy weeks, Niemann finally displayed the tremendous ball striking bettors know him for. Niemann gained 1.15 strokes per round with his irons at Shadow Creek. He also continued his streak of great putting and has gained 0.79 strokes per round on the greens over his last four tournaments. The one hesitation I have is that Niemann is historically a very poor putter, and I fear that a significant regression is coming soon. Even if it regresses, he possesses a Top 20 floor and has a nice price of +150 to do just that.
Other Top 20’s to Consider:
- Russell Henley – +150
- Abraham Ancer – +150
- Billy Horschel – +175
- Paul Casey – +175
- Sebastian Munoz – +225
- Cameron Smith – +225
- Brian Harman – +250
- Brendon Todd – +250
- Kevin Kisner – +300
- Kevin Streelman – +300
- Mackenzie Hughes – +400
- Corey Conners – +400
- Tom Hoge – +450
- Brendan Steele – +450
- Dylan Frittelli – +500
- Danny Lee – +500
- Tyler Duncan – +500
ZOZO Championship Picks:
Kevin Streelman -135 over Cameron Champ
Golf courses that demand precision and takes the driver out of play on many holes are not good tracks for Cameron Champ. Champ’s superior advantage off the tee should be neutralized at this point-and-shoot golf course. Champ is deficient in almost every other area in his game that puts a ceiling on his finishing position. Streelman is better suited for Sherwood and comes into the tournament with stronger all-around strokes gained statistics. Streelman should beat Champ head to head.
Jon Rahm -130 over Rory McIlroy
One would think that a less-than-driver golf course that demands accuracy is a disadvantage for Rahm. But Rahm demonstrated this year that he can dominate those types of places with two strong showings at Muirfield Village. He also has won twice at the Club de Campo Villa de Madrid, another tight tree-lined golf course that demands precision off the tee. Conversely, Rory’s form as deteriorated significantly with his irons, which may cause him to struggle this week. Rahm should beat McIlroy head to head.
Viktor Hovland -120 over Daniel Berger
The praise for Hovland is above. As for Daniel Berger, he seems to be crashing back down to earth after a tremendous summer. Daniel Berger’s overall strokes gained numbers are starting to dip. Berger has only gained 0.15 strokes per round with his ball striking and 0.2 strokes per round on and around the greens over his last four tournaments. These figures are a far cry from the marks he posted this summer. Hovland should best Berger head to head.