The second part of the Asian swing takes place this week at the Zozo Championship in Japan. This is another 78-player limited-field no-cut event. It’s held at Accordia Golf Narashino Country Club, which also hosted the Japan Skins on Monday between Tiger, Jason, Rory, and Hideki.
Narashino is a tree-lined course that puts a heavy emphasis on both accuracy off the tee and on approach. Players who miss the fairway by small margins will deal with tricky zoysia rough. Those who miss by larger margins will face difficult recovery shots from the trees. The greens at Narashino are fairly straightforward, and I expect a lot of made putts. However, when players miss greens, I expect them to have a harder time than normal with chip shots because lies in the rough will be tough to judge. Overall, Narashino will reward those who avoid unpredictable recoveries from tees and rough by thriving both off the tee and into the greens.
So let’s take a look at a few players who would be good fits for your Zozo Championship DraftKings lineup:
Viktor Hovland $9,400
Hovland is a premier ball-striker, ranking in the top five in both Strokes Gained: Off-the-Tee and SG: Approach. This skill-set should allow him to capitalize on the course setup at the Zozo Championship. Also, we get a slightly reduced price on Hovland this week after he finished 31st at last week’s CJ Cup. He is a very consistent player; last week, he set the record for most consecutive rounds under 70 on the PGA Tour. I love having that consistency in my lineup.
Tony Finau $9,200
Finau is the only other player in the field who is top five in the field both off the tee and on approach. Like Hovland, Finau should have a bit of an easier time negotiating Narashino than his competitors. Over the past few months, he has quietly played very well, finishing in the top 10 in four of his past five starts. Finau also brings a lot of upside to a DraftKings lineup because he has one of the highest birdie rates on Tour.
Shugo Imahira $7,000
Imahira plays primarily in Asia and surely feels motivated to perform well in his home country. He has been on fire over the past nine weeks in Japan. During that time, he has had six top 10s and hasn’t finished worse than 19th. Sure, the fields in these events may have been comparatively weak, but this level of success means his game is in strong form. He has played sparingly in the U.S. and hasn’t had much success, but in Japan I’m willing to give him a shot in the no-cut Zozo Championship.