Top DFS Picks for the 2021 ZOZO Championship
They’re dropping like flies at the ZOZO Championship. First it was Sungjae Im, then it was Harold Varner III and Charl Schwartzel. Kevin Na, Jimmy Walker, and Paul Casey joined the aforementioned trio, who decided not to make the 5,500-mile trek from Vegas to Japan.
As these spots get eaten up by regulars on the Japan Golf Tour, the number of players in my pool of consideration starts to shrink up. Keep in mind; this is a 78-man field with no cut.
Those of you looking to take a shot in some GPPs on DraftKings, here are my top ZOZO Championship DFS picks.
Best DFS Golf Picks for the 2021 ZOZO Championship
Collin Morikawa and Xander Schauffele are the only two players teeing it up in Japan who are ranked inside the top 15 in the OWGR. They also both played lights-out at the CJ Cup. Given the bloated ownership that’ll be attached to each man, there’s plenty of merit in fading both in GPPs on DK.
Perhaps a better strategy is to load up on some names in the $8-9k range.
Jhonattan Vegas ($8,900)
Jhonattan Vegas saunters into Narashino Country Club having connected on 12 of his last 13 cuts. Across his last nine starts, the long-hitting Venezuelan has racked up six top-16s. That includes a pair of runner-up finishes and a solid showing (T16) at the Tokyo Olympics.
Vegas gained over five strokes from tee to green at the CJ Cup and should be ready to attack what’s being called a fairly demanding layout.
Carlos Ortiz ($8,600)
Nearly a year removed from his maiden victory on the PGA Tour, Carlos Ortiz did a lot of good things this past week in Las Vegas that make him one of the best DFS picks for the ZOZO Championship. Namely, Ortiz was striking his irons exquisitely as he hit 86.11% of the greens (T2) and ranked 5th in SG: Approach.
Looking at page one of the leaderboard of the 2019 ZOZO Championship (held at this week’s venue), it’s clear that a laser-like approach game is one of the keys to success.
Ryan Palmer ($8,300)
Arriving in Japan on the heels with a disastrous recent game log (MC-T57-MC in his last three starts), most won’t want to pony up $8,300 for Ryan Palmer. However, a little bit of digging brings Palmer to the forefront of sensible ZOZO Championship DFS picks
For starters, Ryan finished 10th at this golf course in 2019 after stringing together four rounds in the 60s. Secondly, Narashino CC is a short course (7,041 yards) by PGA Tour standards. Thanks to diligent efforts from Justin Ray, we know that Palmer checks in as an insanely reliable golfer on tracks measuring under 7,100 yards.
The host course for this week's Zozo Championship is just 7,041 yards on the scorecard. Here are the best scoring averages since the 2018-19 PGA Tour season on courses under 7,100 yards (min. 20 rounds played). Players in the field this week are highlighted. pic.twitter.com/6fNRJXH5K2— Justin Ray (@JustinRayGolf) October 18, 2021
Expand the tweet and you’ll see Palmer’s 4th best in this field with a 68.55 scoring average in 38 rounds.
Top DFS Sleepers for the 2021 ZOZO Championship
Now for a couple of names who should fly into the week relatively under the radar.
Chris Kirk ($8,100)
Don’t focus on rostering guys who recently peaked; instead, target players who are trending toward a special week. That’s where Chris Kirk comes in.
Known as one of the streakiest players during his tenure on the PGA Tour, Kirk’s current trajectory points toward a golfer who’s on the cusp of doing something great.
|Chris Kirk’s Last Four Starts|
|Date||Tournament||Score to Par||Finish|
|8/22/21||THE NORTHERN TRUST||-5||T56|
|10/3/21||Sanderson Farms Championship||-12||T35|
|10/17/21||The CJ Cup @ The Summit||-19||T14|
After carding 21 birdies and two eagles at the CJ Cup, it’s safe to say that Kirk is seeing his lines and executing. Zero bogeys over his final 27 holes at the Summit.
Matt Jones ($7,200)
This 41-year-old Aussie was one of a handful who hopped on the charter flight from Vegas following the conclusion of the CJ Cup. Jones wrapped up his two-week stay in Vegas with a 68 on Sunday; he’s now 27-under-par through his first eight rounds of the season (68.25 scoring average).
Standing out about his performance at the Summit is the fact that Matt gained strokes off the tee and around the greens during all four rounds.
My Suggested DFS Lineup for GPPs
- Jhonattan Vegas – $8,900
- C.T. Pan – $8,800
- Carlos Ortiz – $8,600
- Ryan Palmer – $8,300
- Chris Kirk – $8,100
- Matt Jones – $7,200
I showcased five of my top six DFS picks for the ZOZO Championship in the blurbs above. I didn’t forget about C.T. Pan, it’s just that I already extolled him plenty in the post linked below. The cliff notes?
Pan comes in scorching (T6-T11 in his last two starts) and has great memories from the last time he competed in Japan (won a bronze medal at the Summer Olympics).