With our outright wagers placed, we now turn to the prop market for our expert selections for the ZOZO Championship at Accordia Golf Narashino Country Club. It’s always important to search for value in the top finishing markets, so remember to shop around for the best lines for your 2021 ZOZO Championship prop bets as they typically differ from sportsbook to Sportsbook
Twas a great week last week at The CJ Cup @ Summit for this article. Cashing top-20 tickets with Harry Higgs and Keith Mitchell, Hudson Swafford and Lucas Glover weren’t far behind as we nearly went four-for-four in Las Vegas. Churning out four winning selections in as many weeks, we look to keep the momentum rolling in the land of the rising sun as players ready for the 2021 ZOZO Championship just outside of Tokyo, Japan.
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At Sportsbook, tournament-favorite, Collin Morikawa is -130 to finish inside the top-10. According to our odds calculator, this implies a 56.52 percent chance for him to do so this week. Needing to lay $130 to profit $100, we will instead search further down the ZOZO Championship betting board in search of some perceived value.
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ZOZO Championship Prop Bets: What To Look For
Once again 78 players will tee it up this week as the ZOZO Championship takes on the same shape as The CJ Cup @ Summit. With 13 players hailing from the Japan Golf Tour Organization (JTGO), there are a number of names in the ZOZO Championship field the average golf fan may not recognize. However, with the likes of Sungjae Im, Paul Casey, and others withdrawing earlier in the week, a greater number of unknown players are set to take center stage at Accordia Golf Narashino Country Club.
Despite occupying nearly 20 percent of the field, those from the JGTO have not fared well in the short history of the ZOZO Championship. Looking past the duo of Hideki Matsuyama and Satoshi Kodaira and no man from Japan has finished inside the top-40 whether at Sherwood Country Club or Accordia Golf Narashino Country Club.
Perhaps that will change this year given the weaker nature of the field at the ZOZO Championship. There are a number of possible breakthrough candidates chomping at the bit to make their names appear towards the top of the leaderboard.
A popular name will be that of Rikuya Hoshino. Striking the first shot of the 2020 Olympic Games, the man from Japan has played sparingly in front of the camera. His most notable appearance came at the 2021 U.S. Open at Torrey Pines earlier this summer. Finishing in a tie for 26th, the Olympian posted +8.20 Strokes Gained: Approach for the week, second to only this week’s favorite, Collin Morikawa.
However, back in his homeland, Hoshino has continued to capture victories. With three wins this season on the JGTO, the 25-year-old is quickly becoming the class of the JGTO. While he won’t find his name in our ZOZO Championship best bets, one should not be surprised if he enjoys a great week and improves on his finishes of T-52 and T-72 in this championship.
While Hoshino won’t make our list, a couple of his fellow countrymen will as the numbers we wish to attack are limited in a field such as this. With this in mind, we venture to the top-10 market in lieu of the top-20 plays that have treated us well to this point. Potentially just a one-week stint in this area of the betting markets, we present to you our ZOZO Championship best bets.
ZOZO Championship Prop Bets & Best Bets: Our Recommendations
Andrew Putnam (+550 To Finish Inside The Top 10):
Putnam’s only ZOZO Championship appearance was nothing to write home about as the American finished in a tie for 59th in 2019 at Accordia Golf Narashino Country Club. However, I believe four rounds under his belt will do him wonders as he arrives this season in similar form to that of two years ago. Having finished inside the top-20 in three of his last four tournaments, he was riding a bit of form only to fall flat in Japan.
Hoping this year will be a different case, Putnam is coming in having finished in a tie for 11th at the Shriners Children’s Open in his last start. Ranking fourth in the field in SG: Approach and 14th in SG: Putting such a combination could be lethal at the ZOZO Championship. While those two areas of his bag appear to be in form, in all honesty, it is his play from off-the-tee and around-the-green that will be the deciding factor.
Hitting only 48.10 percent of the fairways in 2019, the 32-year-old made things difficult on himself, carding only 10 par breakers for the week. With the need to keep the ball in the short-grass from off-the-tee, Putnam typically does his best work from off-the-tee when a decision needs to be made. Whether laying back to a number or to the fat part of a fairway, if Putnam is able to make the correct calls from the tee box, I like his prospects for the ZOZO Championship.
Ryosuke Kinoshita (+800 To Finish Inside The Top 10):
Despite the praise for Hoshino earlier in the article, it is the current JGTO money leader that we will be going with at the ZOZO Championship. Possessing the third-best scoring average on Tour this season, the man from Japan has two victories to his credit. Since his latest victory at the Dunlop SRIXON Fukushima Open, all Kinoshita has done is produce quality result after quality result.
With five top-10 finishes in his last seven starts, the 30-year-old is in the midst of a career year and is not to be trifled with. Leading the JGTO in total driving and greens in regulation percentage, Kinoshita appears to be ready for the bright lights of the PGA Tour. While this will be his ZOZO Championship debut, it won’t be his PGA Tour debut as he teed it up at TPC Southwind in August for the WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational.
Another course which requires precise iron-play, Kinoshita held his own, finishing in a tie for 43rd. Posting +2.8 SG: Approach for the week, the relative unknown player to American golf fans ranked 16th in said category while playing amongst the biggest names in golf. With this week’s field much weaker compared to that in Memphis, Kinoshita’s ball-striking prowess has the potential to carry him even further and makes for one of our best bets for the ZOZO Championship.
James Hahn (+1200 To Finish Inside The Top 10):
Making his ZOZO Championship debut this week at Accordia Golf Narashino Country Club, Hahn could possess the profile to succeed in Japan. Consistently finding the short grass from off-the-tee, the 39-year-old has hit fairways at a more efficient rate relative to the field in 13 of his last 15 starts on the PGA Tour.
Finding the weekend in three of his last six starts dating back to last season, Hahn has unfortunately missed the cut in the first two starts of his 2021-2022 campaign. Yet the pieces to a strong showing are hidden in plain sight. Posting +4.3 SG: Tee-to-Green in the Fortinet Championship, Hahn struggled on and around-the-greens. In his following start at the Shriners Children’s Open, it was his ball-striking that let him down.
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It will just be a matter of marrying the entirety of his bag as flashes of form have been there. While the missed cuts have unfortunately stacked up, there has been enough good mixed in where he is of consideration in this limited field, no-cut setting.
Satoshi Kodaira (+1200 to finish inside the top 10):
Our final ZOZO Championship best bet will reside in Kodaira who enjoyed a nice run of golf on the PGA Tour during the long summer months. Capturing finishes of T-11, T-13, T-19, T-36 over a span of two months, the 2018 RBC Heritage victor appeared to be on the cusp of returning to the winner’s circle. While his play dropped off towards the end of the season, Kodaira put together a quality outing in his last start at the Japan Open Golf Championship, perhaps signaling another stretch of form.
Posting rounds of 66-66-68-76, the 32-year-old was well-positioned with 18-holes to go. While it was not meant to be, eventually finishing in a tie for 11th, the return to quality is encouraging. Ranking fifth in birdies or better and greens in regulation, those two attributes should carry to Accordia Golf Narashino Country Club.
As it was here in 2019 that Kodaira led the field in driving accuracy, hitting 73.10 percent of fairways. While he was only able to translate it to a T-37 finish, he should fare better in this year’s field given its lack of strength.