Long-shot golfers to watch at the Zozo Championship

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After finishing second to Rory McIlroy at the CJ Cup in Las Vegas last week, Collin Morikawa heads to Japan for the Zozo Championship, which returns to the Land of the Rising Sun after having to be played in the United States last year due to COVID-19. Morikawa (7/1) is the second choice on the odds board behind Xander Schauffele (6/1), who won Olympic gold in July the last time he was in Japan. Speaking of Japan, reigning Masters champion Hideki Matsuyama (12/1) was the runner-up here two years ago in this event to Tiger Woods.

Here are some players with longer odds who are worth a wager this weekend.

Will Zalatoris (16/1)

Missed the cut last time out at the Shriners. The reigning PGA Tour Rookie of the Year tops this week’s field for GIR Gained. He was one of the few top-30 players to skip the CJ Cup last week, but a week off could be beneficial here.

Jhonattan Vegas (28/1)

Ranks top 5 in this week’s field for both SG: Approach and GIR Gained. The Venezuelan also ranks No. 1 for SG Par 5s (550-600) yards. Vegas finished a respectable T-16 in the Olympic Golf competition this summer.

Maverick McNealy (33/1)

Finished mid-pack last week in a home game at the Summit Club. Perhaps playing in front of his 94-year-old grandmother for the very first time got to him a bit. Since he has been on tour, McNealy has been best on shorter tracks that he can plot his way around such as Pebble Beach where he has finished fifth and second and Hilton Head where he finished fourth last season.

Keegan Bradley
Keegan Bradley
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Keegan Bradley (33/1)

Bradley finished fourth on the PGA Tour for SG: Approach and has continued that form into the fall series. He finished 13th here two years ago. Bradley also has solid enough form in Asia with a runner-up finish at the 2017 CIMB Classic and a sixth-place finish at the WGC-HSBC in 2018. Bradley was 32nd last week at the CJ Cup, but ranked 22nd in the field for putting, which has been the weakness throughout his career. Ball strikers who struggle with the putter such as Corey Conners, Byeong Hun An, and Gary Woodland finished top 8 here two years ago.

K.H. Lee (40/1)

After picking up his first PGA Tour title at the AT&T Byron Nelson back in May, Lee has continued to play solid golf. He’s missed just four cuts in his last 13 events, picking up five top 25s in the process. While just 25th last week at the CJ Cup, he was ninth in the top-class field for SG: Approach. Lee also played predominantly on the Japan Golf Tour from 2012-15, so he is experienced in this part of the world.

Harry Higgs (66/1)

Higgs finished T-9 at last week’s CJ Cup. He ranked second (behind winner Rory McIlroy) for SG: Putting and 10th for SG: Approach, so he should like these Bentgrass greens like he saw last week. After a tough summer, Higgs has made five of his last six cuts with three finishes in the top 16.

Brendon Todd (80/1)

Leads this week’s field for Good Drives Gained and SG: Bentgrass Putting. While the greens this week are Bentgrass, they are very smooth and resemble Paspalum greens like found at Mayakoba, where Todd won in 2019.



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