PGA TOUR Odds: 2023 ZOZO Championship Preview In Japan
A heartfelt congratulations to TheLines.com golf writer John Haslbuer on his wedding this past week from our entire staff. He is taking some well-deserved time off this week for his honeymoon in New Zealand, as the FedExCup Fall schedule is also across the Pacific Ocean this week in Japan. While John will not be writing a full preview this week, we do have some data to pull from his post from the tournament a year ago, as it is at the same course, Accordia Golf Narashino Country Club. Below, we’ll explore 2023 Zozo Championship odds from the best sports betting apps and notable stats to include in your handicapping this week.
John’s 2022 analysis of this course is also included below.
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ZOZO CHAMPIONSHIP ODDS: THE FAVORITES
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INTRODUCTION TO ACCORDIA GOLF NARASHINO COUNTRY CLUB
Accordia Golf Narashino Country Club is a picturesque private golf course in Shiba, Japan. It hosted Japan Tour tournaments from 1968-1977. In 2019, it became an official stop on the PGA TOUR schedule, as part of the PGA TOUR’s efforts to expand its footprint more globally.
This will be the fourth installment of the ZOZO Championship at Accordia Golf Narashino Country Club. It will be an impossible task to live up to the first two, as the inaugural event in 2020 was won by none other than Tiger Woods. The next event, after a stateside relocation due to COVID-19, went to local superstar Hideki Matsuyama in his first appearance at a PGA TOUR event in Japan since winning The Masters.
In short, Narashino is a narrow, tree-lined course with a diverse layout of holes that will test a multitude of shots throughout a player’s bag. It features an even distribution of holes with distance as beneficial as accuracy. Complex bunkers and water hazards line these fairways, so the top ball-strikers should rise to the top. Pristine and pure greens mean less guesswork to reading them.
How It Breaks Down
Accordia Golf Narashino Country Club is a short par 70 playing to 7,041 yards on the scorecard, with a unique layout of five par 3s, 10 par 4s, and three par 5s. The “short” yardage, however, misleads. None of the par 3s are particularly long, with all measuring below 200 yards. With five par-4s measuring over 485 yards, there is some sneaky length to this course, which will place a premium on proximity from 175+ to find birdie opportunities.
Every hole at Narashino has two sets of greens, one bentgrass and the other a Bermuda/Zoysia blend. This helps the golf course handle extreme seasonal weather changes between the cold winters (bent) and harsh, dry summers (Bermuda/Zoysia).
As a stark contrast to TPC Summerlin, Narashino poses a stern tee-to-green test. In its first two years hosting the PGA TOUR, has produced leaderboards that reward top ball strikers with the ability to scramble for par saves when needed. Outside the confines of the United States, we unfortunately do not have the luxury of ShotLink and strokes gained data to compare with other PGA TOUR stops.
NARASHINO GOLF ACCORDIA COUNTRY CLUB COURSE SPECS
- Yards: 7,041
- Par: 70 (5x 3s / 10x 4s / 3x 5s)
- Greens: Bent
- Architect: Kinya Fujita
- Comp Courses: Kasumigaseki CC, Sheshan International GC, Nine Bridges, TPC Kuala Lumpur, Harbour Town, TPC Sawgrass, Colonial, Waialae CC
- Historical Cut Line: N/A
- Median Four-Round Score: +1 (’22), -2 (’20)
- Past Winners: Keegan Bradley -15 (’22), Hideki Matsuyama -15 (’21), Tiger Woods -19 (’20)
- Hole-by-hole Breakdown:
COURSE HISTORY AND COURSE COMPS
It’s difficult to confidently identify accurate course comps for this week, given the absence of ShotLink data and a sample size of only two years. Matsuyama is the only player who has excelled here in both 2019 and 2021. Waialae CC would seem the top option, as Matsuyama picked up wins on both courses last season. Each feature short distance, and at least subjectively, requires a long flight deep into the Pacific. Steele has also delivered strong results with limited reps at both to support the trend.
On the basis of short game alone, there is some merit to referencing performance at Augusta National, as each plays on pure, pristine bentgrass greens.
Beyond these comps, it would seem just as important to identify players who can travel overseas to Asia and perform well. From the overseas angle, I’m looking at performance at Kasumigaseki, Nine Bridges, Sheshan International and TPC Kuala Lumpur.
With this being a treelined, positional par-70 course under 7,200 yards, performance at Colonial CC, Shadow Creek and TPC Sawgrass should serve as solid comps from the PGA TOUR.
KEY STATS TO CONSIDER BEFORE BETTING PGA TOUR ODDS
- SG: APP / SG: Ball Striking
- Prox: 175+
- Good Drives Gained
- Scrambling Gained / Bogey Avoidance
- Par-3 Scoring
- Par-5: 550-600
- SG: T2G (<7,200 Yards & Difficult Scoring Conditions)
- SG: P (L36)
- Course & Comp Course History
Whenever we get to a course without strokes gained data from prior years, I tend to take a broader approach with stat modeling for more tried and true stats.
As with any professional golf event, approach play will remain important. A heavily tree-lined golf course with penal, inconsistent rough puts a premium on total ball striking.
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COMPLETE 2023 ZOZO CHAMPIONSHIP Odds
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