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PGA Preview: ZoZo Championship

Oct 23, 2019

Look for Justin Thomas to keep on rolling at this weekend’s tournament.

The ZoZo Championship is the second leg of the Asian swing (Justin Thomas won the CJ Cup in Korea last week). You might have seen a sneak peek of the course with the midnight showing of the Skins Game featuring Tiger Woods, Jason Day, Rory McIlroy, and Hideki Matsuyama. Thomas and McIlroy are the clear favorites as they are the only players with single-digit betting odds. Hideki Matsuyama and Xander Schauffele are the only other two players that are in the consensus top five in the betting markets, as well as on both DraftKings and FanDuel. As you will see from my picks below, that I like the value this week, which means you should be able to fit some top-level talent into your rosters. DK gives you $50,000 to select six golfers (average roster spot of $8,333), whereas FanDuel provides you with $60,000 to select six golfers for an average roster spot of $10,000.

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Tournament Notes

  • The ZoZo Championship is played at the Accordia Golf Narashino Country Club in Japan. The par-70 course measures 7,041 yards and has five par 3s and three par 5s.
  • This is the first year for this tournament, and it will have a total prize pool of $9.75 million, with $1.755 million going to the winner.
  • Remember to do your lineups early, as the event locks Wednesday night at 7:00 pm E.T. for both DraftKings and FanDuel.
  • There are only 78 players in the field this week in this no-cut event. The spots in the field are reserved for 60 golfers in order of their final position in the 2019 FedEx Cup Playoffs. Ten spots are reserved for members of the Japan Golf Tour, and then there are eight sponsor exemptions.
  • If you are looking at home country narratives, Hideki Matsuyama, Shugo Imahira, Chan Kim, and Ryo Ishikawa are notable Japanese golfers in the field.
  • The greens are bentgrass, and the rest of the course is mostly Zoysia grass. The greens are undulating and run an 11.5 on the Stimpmeter.
  • The 10 par 4s are interesting because half of them are under 425 yards, and the other half measure more than 480 yards. There is nothing in the middle.
  • There are quite a few bunkers and trees on the course, so ball-striking and a strong approach game will be important.

Favorite Elite Play

Justin Thomas ($11,800-DK // $12,200-FD)
Take your pick between JT and Rory. They are 1a and 1b as far as I am concerned, and I truly believe that one of them will win it. But I am sticking with JT. He won me money last week, and nothing has changed for this week. It is hard to win back-to-back tournaments on the PGA tour, but it is also hard to win at all. JT knows how to win, and he is hot right now with two wins, a third, and a fourth in his last four starts. In his last six no-cut events, Thomas has finished Win, T3, Win, T12, 9, 3. Six of his last nine wins have come in no-cut formats.

Favorite High-Tier Play

Tony Finau ($9,200-DK // $10,100-FD)
In the last 12 rounds played, nobody has scored more fantasy points than Finau. During those 12 rounds, he has a T9 at the Shriners, a seventh at the TOUR Championship, and a fourth at the BMW. He is certainly a player who outscores his finishing place. He also had a T10 at the Alfred Dunhill a couple of weeks ago.

Favorite Mid-Tier Play

Adam Hadwin ($8,100-DK // $8,900-FD)
Other than JT, Hadwin is the only player to have two top-five finishes on the PGA Tour so far this season, as he finished T4 at the Shriners and runner-up at the Safeway. In his last 24 rounds, he is 16th in fantasy scoring.

Favorite Low-Tier Play

Corey Conners ($7,200-DK // $8,200-FD)
In the last 24 rounds, he is 12th in Birdies or Better Percentage and 15th in fantasy scoring. He just finished T12 at the CJ Cup after a T13 at the Safeway Open. He finished 26th and 7th at the TOUR Championship and BMW, respectively. He also had a T27 at the WGC-St. Jude, so he has played well at no-cut events.

Favorite Punt Play

J.T. Poston ($6,600-DK // $7,500-FD)
In the last 24 rounds played, he is sixth in fantasy scoring and ninth in Birdies or Better Percentage. Those are two key stats for a no-cut event. He has four top-16 finishes (including a win at the Wyndham) in his last seven starts. He is a solid player with no glaring weaknesses at a discounted price. I like “punt” plays that are actually good players with recent wins.

Favorite Core Play

Kevin Kisner ($7,600-DK // $8,300-FD)
I will be plugging Kisner into most of my lineups this week. His price is too low, and his game is too good. The only concern I have is that he hasn’t played for two months, which is nothing to dismiss lightly, but I love his price. He finished up the 2018-19 season with back-to-back top-10 finishes at the TOUR Championship and BMW. Both of those were no-cut events. He also threw in a T12 at the first playoff event. He finished T27 at both the WGC-St. Jude and WGC-Mexico, so he has a solid track record at no-cut events. In his last 24 rounds, he is 18th in fantasy scoring.

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Jamy Bechler is a regular contributor to FantasyPros for NBA, NFL, and PGA. You can follow him on his DFS twitter @WinningDFS101. When he is not playing DFS, Jamy is an author, host of the “Success is a Choice” podcast, and a leadership consultant, working with businesses and teams across the country (including the NBA). Even though he offers his advice on players and contests, after additional information and consideration, he may end up using different players and strategies than what he recommended in this article.

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