Recap of last weeks bets
|To Win||Tony Finau||Lost|
|Top-Five Finish||Tyrrell Hatton||Lost|
|Tournament Match Bet||Rory McIlroy||Won|
Profit/Loss (This week) – Loss of $10 to a $10 Stake
Profit/Loss (Overall) – Loss of $137 to a $10 Stake
On to this week’s event.
The Zozo began in 2019, when the Narashino Country Club hosted Tiger Woods’ record-equaling 82nd, and potentially final, PGA Tour triumph. It now returns to its home venue after a one-year Covid hiatus in California. Two years ago, Tiger Woods spoiled the party for local hero Hideki Matsuyama with a 19-under-par effort on the 7,041-yard par 70. The valiant runner-up went on to win the Masters, but despite carrying the weight of the entire golf-crazed nation of Japan on his shoulders, he couldn’t quite deliver the gold medal they desired at the Tokyo Olympics.
Weather wreaked havoc on the first trip to Japan, with Friday’s game being rained out and no supporters admitted on Saturday, but conditions should be less turbulent this week. Although it will be cold, the course will likely play more softly than usual, with minimal rough remaining unnoticeable. There are some long and challenging par-fours on this course, but three par-fives is unusual for a par 70 and should help keep scoring low, mitigating a weaker field two years on.
This par 70 has a distinctly Japanese feel, extending beyond the tree-lined fairways and the fact that each hole has two greens. In 2019, it provided a fair test, with only nine players shooting under par and Woods winning by three strokes.
This year’s competition is weaker than Tiger Woods’ initial victory in 2019, which is acceptable after a busy 2021 and in these Covid travel-restrictive times. However, there are players inside the top 30 in the world participating, such as Collin Morikawa, Xander Schauffele, Hideki Matsuyama, and Joaquin Niemann.
On to our picks for this year…
Matthew NeSmith +13000
With a field of this caliber, I am amazed that Matthew NeSmith is +13000. Last time out, he played very well at the Shriners Children’s Open and placed 14th after four solid rounds. He had a week off and comes here much fresher than most of the field. His game off the tee improved at the Shriners, and he has hit his previous 20 fairways in a row, which is the second-best run on Tour at present. He will need to maintain or better that around here. However, his approach play has been good so far this season, and he ranks tenth on Tour for scrambling so he can get himself out of a pickle, should he require it. His putting will also need to improve, but there is no doubt that the 28-year-old from South Carolina can undoubtedly ruffle some feathers this week.
To Make a Hole-in-One
Xander Schauffele +10000
With five par three holes and no cut, it means that Xander Schauffele will get 20 chances to hit a hole in one this week, and I like his odds to do so. The greens this week are tiny, which will mean players will have no option to go for pins, rather than playing the safer options on some occasions. Schauffele has only played one tournament this season, but he still ranks 11th on Tour for his approach play from 150-175 yards, which he will face on many of the par threes this week. He already has one hole in one on Tour to his name, which he hit in the Tour Championship in 2019.
First Round Leader
Collin Morikawa +1400
Morikawa finished the CJ Cup in fine fashion as he carded a final round 62 to finish runner up to Rory McIlroy by a single shot. Therefore, he brings the most considerable momentum here in Japan and has to be backed to lead the way this week. He placed 22nd the last time he played this golf course and shot a 64, which, if he replicated in the first round, would set him in good stead to be leading. He ranks 14th on Tour for his first-round average, which makes him a decent bet to lead the way this week.
My name is Dean, AKA The Stat Man. I am a Sports Betting Analyst who uses math, algorithms, probability and logic to create my posts. I specialize in many sports, with Golf being the primary focus. You can find a lot of my work on various websites but the best content is found here on Beer Life.
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