Accordia Golf Narashino CC, Chiba JPN
The Zozo Championship begins play in Chiba Japan, momentarily, so there is not a lot of time for in-depth analysis. Hideki Matsuyama won by five strokes last year and is back to defend his title although with a game slightly off form.
Who should win? – Xander Schauffele 8/1
Schauffele posted three wins in 2022, had a successful President’s Cup and was T3 and 4 in his past two tournaments. He is the obvious favourite this week but there are several players in this field who will make him earn it.
Who could win? – Sunjae Im 11/1, Tom Kim 14/1, Cameron Young 16/1, Collin Morikawa 14/1
Im has two T2’s, a T7 (last week) and has been no worse than T15 in his past five events. It would be no surprise to see him celebrating with his fellow South Koreans on the 18th green. Tom Kim won last week and is easily the biggest “breath of fresh air” on the Tour at the moment. His performance and emotions at the President’s Cup made him an instant fan favourite around the globe. He could be the next big thing in golf. Cameron Young makes his first start of the season after a stellar rookie season. He has contended on the biggest stages and will be looking for his maiden victory this season. Morikawa’s game has been a little sour of late but he can never be counted out.
Longer shots to consider – Mackenzie Hughes 66/1, Sepp Straka 40/1
I thought Hughes would get more respect from the oddsmakers given his second Tour win came only two weeks ago. If he can find a few more fairways, his short game could put him in contention again this week. Straka posted his first Tour win last season and his recent form has been eye-opening. He has two runner-up’s in his past four tournamants and a solid T7 at the Tour Championship. At 40/1 odds, he might be the best “value bet” in the field.
Who will win? – Tom Kim
His overall game, youthful confidence and sense of drama has made me a believer. I have not had the same interest in watching what a young player can bring since Jordan Spieth made his debut.
Odds courtesy of Bet365.com