ZOZO Championship Golf 2023 – Tournament Outright Tips and Betting Preview

The PGA Tour departs the American shores and heads to Asia this week for the ZOZO Championship, the tournament which takes the roadshow out to Japan for the first of three successive weeks in different countries.

Keegan Bradley enjoyed his trip to Japan last year when he took down the title and he is in the field looking to make a successful defence of the crown. He is up against a heavily elevated field on what we’ve seen in recent weeks.

Recent Winners

2022 – Keegan Bradley

2021 – Hideki Matsuyama

2020 – Patrick Cantlay

2019 – Tiger Woods

The Course

This will be the fourth time the Accordia Golf Narashimo Country Club course is used for this tournament. The 2020 event was staged in America due to the pandemic. It is a par 70 which has been extended to 7,079 yards so it isn’t long by any standards. It is quite a weird place in that there are three par fives and five par threes around this place so you’ve got to think that will favour those who are in excellent touch with their irons. We have had three years here now though so the putter is going to have to cooperate for those who wish to contend.

There is a fair bit of breeze around in the forecast this week, especially on Friday so that has to come into the equation. Players with a lower ball flight might be the ones to have a little bit of joy here. Primarily we are looking at a low scoring event, particularly with players having had a few spins here so have had the chance to work out better course management, so we need players who will find the short grass to set up good birdie opportunities.

The Field

These fall event fields haven’t been great so far with the top 50 in the FedExCup earlier in the year having their full playing rights secured and little to gain from competing but things are different this week as a number of leading lights have taken advantage of the chance to play outside of the States and as such we have a decent field going to battle here. This is a reduced field of 78 players which means that everyone is guaranteed four rounds of golf.

Three members of the losing US Ryder Cup team are in the field this week in Xander Schauffele, Collin Morikawa and Rickie Fowler but it is the home star Hideki Matsuyama who will be the main focus of attention this week. Sungjae Im and Min Woo Lee are two other international stars who are in the field this week as well. Sahith Theegala is also here looking for a second fall series win while defending champion Keegan Bradley will look to keep hold of his crown.

Market Leaders

Xander Schauffele had a bit of a Ryder Cup to forget but he is the 7/1 favourite to win the tournament this week. The Olympic champion won his gold medal in this part of the world and is seen as one of the better travelling American players as a result of that. He has two top 10 finishes in this event which includes a T9 last year. He seems to be getting better with every round he plays around here but he has been far too quiet in 2023 for me to be backing him at 7/1.

Collin Morikawa is next in the betting at 12/1. This is a tee to green golf course in the main in that the better chances to score are set up from the fairway so the former USPGA and The Open champion should distance himself from many in the field in that regard but as ever the putter will always be a concern. He finished in the top 10 here a couple of years ago but he had not long won The Open then. His record in 2023 is underwhelming in comparison so I’m a little reluctant to get involved here.

Sungjae Im is the third favourite this week at 14/1. He will be motivated to win an Asian tournament on the PGA Tour and has been in this part of the world a fair bit recently having competed at the Asian Games and then in the Genesis Championship on home soil last week where he lost in a playoff. He preceded that with some good efforts in the FedExCup playoff events a couple of months ago so he is in decent form. Im finished third here in 2019 and rates as a leading contender.

Two superstars of the game come next in the betting with the home star and 2021 champion Hideki Matsuyama being one of them and the popular Rickie Fowler being the other. Both are 16/1. Fowler led the field with 18 holes to play against here last year and has returned to where he was in the game since then while Matsuyama hasn’t played in two months amid back concerns and while he has a brilliant record around here he is sure to have plenty of rust to overcome and in cool conditions that back issue might be too much.

Main Bets

I think it is a huge thing that Sungjae Im has been in this part of the world for a bit. He doesn’t have jet lag or time changes to overcome and in addition to that he goes into this tournament motivated by what is probably a disappointment of losing in a playoff in his homeland last week. Im has previously finished third around here and he carded in the mid-20s under par at the recent Asian Games so he is hitting the ball well and scoring well. This is going to be a low scoring event so the fact he is getting putts to the hole is very much a positive and even at 14/1 he is a standout bet for me.

Cam Davis is the other main bet to catch my eye this week. He doesn’t have the pressure of playing for his tour life or anything like that on his shoulders and he is in decent form. He has finished in the top seven in four of his last six starts and that is top form whoever you are. He combines distance with accuracy off the tee and that length which he has allows him to be more aggressive into the greens and score better as a result of that. Davis is clearly here to win and I think he is a fair price to attempt to do that.


Cameron Champ is battling hard to keep hold of his tour place and needs a big week here to get back into the top 125 and make the last couple of weeks of the season a little easier on him. He comes here off the back of successive top 20 finishes and should in theory be able to go well here given the monstrous distances that he can drive the ball. The fact that he has started to play well is encouraging, as is the fact that he finished in eighth on debut here a year ago. You would like to think that what he learnt that week he can build on here and if he does I would expect a decent challenge from him.

The other player I will take this week is Callum Tarren. The Englishman should be adept at shaping the ball how it needs to be done when the wind blows and while his recent form isn’t fantastic if you only look at the bare numbers, there are elements in there which encourage me that a decent week is around the corner. Tarren has probably done enough to be on the tour next season but might still need one more positive result to be sure of it but what catches my eye in his recent form was the 62 he carded at TPC Summerlin in the third round last week. As easy as that course can play you only shoot those numbers if the bag is working and the ball is hitting the centre of the club face. Two starts prior, Tarren was T7 at the Fortinet and around this time last year he was T2 at the RSM Classic. I think he’s worth a small punt here.


Back S.Im to win ZOZO Championship (e/w) for a 1.5/10 stake at 15.00 with Betway (1/5 1-7)

Back C.Davis to win ZOZO Championship (e/w) for a 1/10 stake at 23.00 with Sky Bet (1/5 1-6)

Back C.Champ to win ZOZO Championship (e/w) for a 0.5/10 stake at 51.00 with Betway (1/5 1-7)

Back C.Tarren to win ZOZO Championship (e/w) for a 0.5/10 stake at 91.00 with Sky Bet (1/5 1-6)