Starts: 21st October 2021
Course: Accordia Golf Narashino CC, Japan
Length: 7,041 yards
2020 Champion: Patrick Cantlay
Overall Profit/Loss: -17.5pts
Pre-Event Bets: -12.5pts
1.5pts EW Rickie Fowler 30/1 @ William Hill (1/5 1-7)
1pt EW Emiliano Grillo 40/1 @ William Hill (1/5 1-7)
0.75pts EW Takumi Kanaya 75/1 @ Bet365 (1/4 1-5)
0.5pts EW Troy Merritt 100/1 @ William Hill (1/5 1-7)
0.5pts EW Ryoshuke Kinoshita 150/1 @ Skybet (1/5 1-6)
1pt WIN ONLY Keegan Bradley 40/1 @ Betfred (1/4 1-5)
0.5pts EW Sebastian Munoz 80/1 @ Unibet (1/5 1-6)
0.5pts EW Sunghoon Kang 80/1 @ Unibet (1/5 1-6)
0.5pts EW Shaun Norris 80/1 @ Unibet (1/5 1-6)
In-Play Bets: -5pts
21 October 2021(-3pts)
1pt EW Collin Morikawa 33/1 @ BetVictor (1/5 1-5)
1pt Yuki Inamori Top 10 Finish 21/1 @ Betfair
23 October 2021(-2pts)
1pt EW Branden Grace 55/1 @ Bet365 (1/3 1-2)
Course Designer: N/A - composite course
Tournament played here since: 2019 (no 2020 edition at this course)
Type of Course: Parkland
Fairways: Korai Zoysiagrass
Greens: Bentgrass greens (11.5 on stimp)
Par 5's: 6th, 14th and 18th
Premium on: All Round Game
Significant Info To Be Aware Of
Continue to exercise caution in relation to Covid-19 related withdrawals.
It's also early in a new season on the PGA Tour so some players may be playing with a fresh mindset.
This event returns to Accordia Golf Narashino CC, which hosted the event in 2019. Be aware the 2020 Zozo Championship was held in the USA.
Tiger Woods won with a winning score of -19 in 2019. However, there were three shots separating him and Hideki Matsuyama in 2nd and a further 3 shots separating Matsuyama and those in 3rd place.
The course was used for the first time in 2019 so nobody had any course form.
Tiger Woods hadn't played for nine weeks prior to his win in 2019. However, the rest of the top 5 each had a top 10 finish in their previous two starts. Those who are still motivated at this time of year are preferred.
Woods ranked 8th in the world at the time of his win.
Rankings for the top 5 in 2019 were 7-29-13-47-3.
No distance stats are available for the 2019 tournament but all of the top 5 are above average for length off the tee.
Greens In Regulation
Rankings for the top 5 in 2019 were 3-6-20-39-6.
Rankings for the top 5 in 2019 were 7-19-11-7-2.
Rankings for the top 5 in 2019 were 1-2-12-4-29. A good putting week is essential.
The 4th, 12th and 5th were the three hardest holes in 2019.
The par 5s all played under par, with the par 5 18th hole the easiest hole on the course. Outside the par 5s, the short par 4th and short par 3 13th both played easy.
Fast or Slow Start
Tiger Woods, Gary Woodland and Hideki Matsuyama were the front three after the opening 18 holes and all three finished inside the top 5 at the end of the tournament. Fast starts are preferred but Rory McIlroy and Sungjae Im did finish top 5 despite over par opening rounds.
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Zozo Championship In-Play Blog
23rd October 2021, 11.20am (UK time)
As expected, Matsuyama has retained his lead despite a poor bogey on the easy 18th hole. He takes a one shot lead over Cameron Tringale who is seeking his long awaited first PGA Tour title.
Matsuyama is available at 4/5 and given Tringale is the only contender within three shots of him it seems a fair price. Tringale's Sunday struggles are well documented and he will be feeling the pressure tomorrow.
Since Thursday, low scores have been few and far between which suits the leaders perfectly. No player has bettered 66 which would mean that Matsuyama probably just needs to break par to get the job done.
Wallace, Steele and Munoz have all shot 66 in one round this week and will need to produce something similar to challenge from four back. Out of the three Munoz has the momentum but is short enough at 22/1.
There won't be much wind to deal with and there is one player we would like to add who given our expectations for Tringale's performance.
Round 4 Bet
- 1pt Each Way Branden Grace 55/1 @ Bet365 (1/3 1-2)
Branden has plenty of momentum with efforts of 66 and 67 in his last two rounds. With two places available, and doubts over Tringale in contention, he rates a value each way play to nick 2nd spot. Matsuyama is not guaranteed to perform either. Grace has already made a playoff from four back on Sunday at the Wyndham this season and also won the Puerto Rico Open earlier this year with a 66 - his lowest round of the week. He is a player to side with on Sundays, even his previous win to that was courtesy of a final round 62.
22nd October 2021, 6.20pm (UK time)
Cold and wet conditions kept a lid on scoring in Japan but that didn't stop local hero, Hideki Matsuyama, from taking the lead. A 2nd round 68 was enough to give the Masters champion a one shot lead going into the weekend.
Matsuyama is now 13/8 favourite and it's hard to see past him. He's only dropped one shot through the opening 36 holes and seems to be happy with the way he's playing given he stated in both post round press conferences that he "played well."
His nearest challenger, Cameron Tringale, has struggled when presented with winning opportunities and makes no appeal at 6/1.
Matt Wallace and Brendan Steele are both capable of mounting a challenge to the leader but neither is priced up attractively. Given the nature of the course, we may well see someone from the group of players at four or five under par make a move in round 3.
Weather for the 3rd round will be dry and cool, with the wind not expected to be above 5mph for the leaders.
Round 3 Bet
- No Bet
It's hard to see past Matsuyama from here but we're happy to see how the 3rd round plays out and evaluate the market tomorrow.
21st October 2021, 1.40pm (UK time)
Home favourite Hideki Matsuyama has outperformed pre-tournament favourites Collin Morikawa and Xander Schauffele and is now 11/4 favourite to convert. Joaquin Niemann is on the same score as Matsuyama and is a 9/2 shot.
The leaderboard had a similar look in 2019 and the front three ended up 1st, 2nd and 5th which is good news for Hiroshi Iwata backers. The world number 161 led after round one of the Japan Open last week and it feels like a missed opportunity in the first round leader market.
He arrived in fine form 11-6-5 and was once 3rd in a WGC in 2014. He has the experience to be able to hang tough but he has stiff opposition.
Matsuyama and Niemann holed their fair share of putts yesterday but it is hard to make a case against their chances given their ability and the way the tournament suited the leaders in 2019.
The forecast tomorrow looks set to slightly favour the later starters with some morning breeze, so we are backing one of the tournament favourites to make his move.
Round 2 Bets
- 1pt Each Way Collin Morikawa 33/1 @ BetVictor (1/5 1-5)
Collin got off to a horror start, playing his first four holes in three over par, but has given himself a half chance getting it back to one over. He started slow in 2019 too with a 71 before shooting 64 on Friday so that will give him good memories. It was noteable in 2019 that the cream rose to the top, with Rory McIlroy and Sungjae Im both finishing T3rd despite being seven and eight shots back after day one. We expect Collin to make his move tomorrow and this price could look massive on Sunday.
- 1pt Yuki Inamori Top 10 Finish 21/1 @ Betfair
We almost put Inamori up as a top 20 play pre-event due to his strong form on the Japanese Tour. In his last four starts he has finished 7-18-9-8 so is playing consistent stuff. He played his final nine holes in three under par so will have good momentum for day two and the standard of player apart from Matsuyama and Niemann ahead of him isn't particularly high.