Fantasy Insider: ZOZO CHAMPIONSHIP
October 19, 2021
By Rob Bolton, PGATOUR.COM
- Erik Van Rooyen had his breakthrough victory on TOUR at the Barracuda Championship last season. (Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
Because you can’t win if you don’t play, the most important piece of advice for the ZOZO CHAMPIONSHIP is an alert.
Accordia Golf Narashino Country Club in Chiba, Japan, is 13 hours ahead of the Eastern Time Zone in the United States. Adjusting for the time difference, the tournament is scheduled to being on Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. ET with threesomes off split tees. That’s 4:30 p.m. on the West Coast.
Unlike like THE CJ CUP @ SUMMIT where upwards of three or four lineups of chalk were possible, all gamers will want to lean heavily on the much smaller handful at the ZOZO. If you try to get cute in this field, it’s going to backfire.
My strategy is to have the obvious four golfers rostered and blend with two others for whom I’d feel lucky if they paid off – Joaquin Niemann and Jhonattan Vegas. But if I end up with the default foursome as my starting lineup in the final round, so be it. Each of the last four tournaments of Segment 1 include a cut, so the plan is to do more damage then.
PGA TOUR Fantasy Golf
My roster for the ZOZO CHAMPIONSHIP (in alphabetical order):
You’ll find my starters in Expert Picks.
POWER RANKINGS WILD CARD
Erik van Rooyen (+3000) … While the top four in the Power Rankings were gimmes, where to cut off for No. 15 presented as one of the more challenging exercises in memory. No one would have griped if EVR would’ve edged Maverick McNealy, so it’s one of those weeks when the Wild Card acts as a 15a or 16. The South African has done EVeRything asked of him and more since his first child was born over the summer. There’s been no regression since the breakthrough victory at the Barracuda Championship. If anything, he’s fulfilled the hype he brought as a first-time member last season. Sensible in every format at Narashino.
Charley Hoffman (+4000)… What do he, Cameron Tringale (Power Rankings) and Sung Kang (Sleepers) have in common? They’re the only golfers who cashed in each of the first four tournaments of 2021-22. Hoffman opened with a T22 at Silverado but his results grew progressively worse, so he’s relegated to this section. While it’s not as attention-grabbing as the other two, it still plays for the veteran who has sustained an impact for much longer than the first four events. A return to the top 25 is reasonable.
Emiliano Grillo (+4000)… I’ve always cautioned never to base expectations on one good or one bad round at a specific time. However, if you’re going to lean in on any of the permutations, it doesn’t get better than the ball-striking Argentine in a no-cut invitational in the wake of a field-low 61 on Sunday in Vegas. While he’s still better suited for long-range formats, he’s been teasing and, at times, delivering on his promise throughout 2021.
Odds sourced on Tuesday, Oct. 19 at 7 p.m. ET. For live odds visit betmgm.
Ryan Palmer (+6600)… There always are exceptions, but this puts to the test his profile as a streaky talent. In advance of the first edition of the ZOZO at Narashino, he had been performing nicely. It was only six months after he and Jon Rahm partnered to prevail in New Orleans when Palmer finished T10 here, but he had been rising on leaderboards in the interim, too. Now he arrives with only one top-25 finish in the same time frame (T4, Scottish Open).
Robert Streb (+6600)… Shocked the world with that 7-under salvo on his first six holes en route to an opening 61 at THE CJ CUP @ SUMMIT but he’d settle for a T9 and as the only golfer in the top 24 with fewer than three sub-70s for the week (61-72-65-70). It was a reminder to everyone who flourished and failed as a result of the rounds that golf happens.
Garrick Higgo (+8000)… He’ll cash this week but it’s been a struggle for the lefty since breaking through at Congaree four months ago. In his last 10 starts worldwide, he’s missed seven cuts, withdrew from the WGC-St. Jude (due to illness) and didn’t post a top 40 in the other two.
RETURNING TO COMPETITION
Pat Perez … Had to walk off TPC Summerlin during his second round two weeks ago with a sore foot. He’s been battling discomfort in his lower extremities for a few years, but it didn’t prevent him from finding the gas pedal late last season when he walked off with four top 20s in seven starts. The firepower is still there, so it’s encouraged to sprinkle him into DFS considerations.
Wesley Bryan … It’s unusual for any touring professional to end a hiatus from competition extended as long as his five months at a no-cut, limited-field invitational. Toss on the layers that he’s in the field at Narashino on a sponsor exemption and has status on the PGA TOUR via a Major Medical Extension for which he needs just 124.760 FedExCup points to retain status, and it’s all kinds of rare. Of course, the beauty is that he’s guaranteed to contribute to the objective. Green-light special.
Sungjae Im … Say it isn’t so! When he opts out early, it looks like fake news. However, the recent winner of the Shriners also elected not to make the trip to England for The Open Championship, so his decision not to travel to Japan during a pandemic isn’t unprecedented.
Kevin Na … Like Im, he also passed on The Open over the summer, but Na recently has been dealing with an injured rib. He finished T49 last week at The Summit Club.
Paul Casey … He’d have been a popular selection in every format at Narashino where he finished T17 in 2019.
Harold Varner III … Opened his career as a father with a T32 at THE CJ CUP @ SUMMIT and extended his consecutive cuts-made streak to seven, five of which went for a top 20.
Charl Schwartzel … The all-or-nothing narrative continued at The Summit Club where he was the only golfer who completed 72 holes worse than par, and he was at 7-over 295 to boot. Continue to stick with complementary roles in deeper leagues in which you can surround him with consistent production.
Jimmy Walker … He’s opened a surprising 2-for-2 on the season with a T24 in his last start at TPC Summerlin.
RECAPS – THE CJ CUP @ SUMMIT
Power Ranking Golfer Result
1 Collin Morikawa 2nd
2 Dustin Johnson T45
3 Justin Thomas T18
4 Xander Schauffele T18
5 Marc Leishman T38
6 Sungjae Im T9
7 Tony Finau T45
8 Louis Oosthuizen T38
9 Sam Burns T5
10 Tyrrell Hatton T18
11 Brooks Koepka T38
12 Rory McIlroy Win
13 Shane Lowry T54
14 Viktor Hovland T18
15 Cameron Smith T9
Wild Card Jason Kokrak T54
Golfer (GolfBet prop) Result
Emiliano Grillo (top 20) T18
Joohyung (Tom) Kim (top 20) T49
Alex Noren (top 20) T59
Kevin Streelman (top 20) T49
Jhonattan Vegas (top 20) T14
OUTRIGHT: Collin Morikawa (+1600) 2nd
PROP: Collin Morikawa Top 10 (+160) 2nd
PROP: Alex Noren Top 10 (+600) T59
BIRTHDAYS AMONG ACTIVE MEMBERS OF THE PGA TOUR
October 19 … Ryuji Imada (45); Louis Oosthuizen (39)
October 20 … none
October 21 … Alex Smalley (25)
October 22 … none
October 23 … none
October 24 … Marc Leishman (38)
October 25 … Troy Merritt (36); Xander Schauffele (28)