After two weeks in the desert, the PGA Tour next shifts to California for the ZOZO Championship. For the second straight week, an international tournament will be played in the United States, due to Covid-19.
Instead of playing in Japan, this year's ZOZO CHAMPIONSHIP will be played at Jack Nicklaus' Sherwood Country Club in Thousand Oaks, CA. This is another small field, no-cut event, which means all 78 golfers will get four rounds this week.
Sherwood is an interesting course, with five Par 5s and five Par 3s for a Par 72. The Par 5s aren't overly long, averaging 542.8 yds, so the longer hitters should have plenty of eagle opportunities this week. Most of the Par 3s hover around 195 yds, so Par 3 scoring 175-200 yards will be a stat worth looking at this week.
Before we get to this week’s bets, let’s review how we did last week:
❌ Cantlay (-110) over Hatton
✅ Im (-115) over Oosthuzien
✅ Schauffele (-175) over Hovland
✅ Watson (-125) over Spieth
Below I've listed my five favourite head-to-head bets from play.spreads.ca
Webb Simpson over Tyrell Hatton (-115)
Hatton ruined what could have been a perfect week at the CJ CUP thanks to 65s on Thursday and Sunday. In the last two weekends, he has a win (on the European Tour) and t-3 but I still like Simpson this week. Simpson has finished t-13 or better in five straight tournaments and has the type of game that can go low at Sherwood CC. Niklaus designs always put a premium on accuracy off of the tee and strong iron play. Simpson was of the most accurate drivers of the ball on tour in 2020. Hatton has the advantage in iron play, but Simpson should be in the fairway far more frequently and has the more superior short game, which will also be tested at Sherwood. This matchup will likely come down to Sunday, but Simpson is one of my favourites to win the tournament, so I like him to edge out Hatton.
Collin Morikawa over Patrick Reed (-115)
After missing the cut in his previous two starts, Morikawa turned in a 65 on Friday and finished t-12 at the CJ CUP. This week he returns to his home state of California, where he won his first Major (PGA Championship) 10 weeks ago. His last two wins on the PGA Tour were either in California or on a Jack Nicklaus design, so Morikawa should feel very comfortable coming into this week.
Like Simpson, Morikawa has a huge advantage in driving accuracy over Reed. On top of his accuracy off of the tee, Morikawa is one of the best iron players in the field and should be near the top of the leaderboard come Sunday. Reed comes in with good form, so this should be another tight matchup, but Morikawa has the tools and familiarity to win this tournament.
Adam Scott over Tiger Woods (-110)
Tiger Woods returns to play this weekend, looking to defend his 2020 ZOZO Championship title--the last tournament he's won. The last time we saw Tiger, he missed the cut at the US Open and prior to that he didn't have a finish better than t-37 in five straight tournaments.
As for Scott, he hasn't played very much either. Scott returned to the PGA Tour in August and has made four starts. He's made the cut in each event and has two top-25s. Both of these players could have a tough time hitting fairways this week but Tiger's 2020 form is a bit more concerning. I'll lean on Scott's more reliable putter and look for him to challenge for a top-15.
Harris English over Daniel Berger (-110)
For much of the 2020 season, Berger was the most consistent player on Tour. He had a stretch where he went 1-T3-MC-T2-T13-3 over a six-week stretch but has started to come back to earth a bit. Even with regression, he's been solid, going T25-T15-T34-T28. English has been a model of consistency as well. He's only missed one cut in his last 10 tournaments and has finished in the top-20 in eight of those events.
Both players are similar off of the tee but English has been the better iron player in recent months and is among the best short game players in this field. His short game should be the difference on these tough green complexes.
Joaquin Niemann over Matthew Fitzpatrick (-110)
This is my favourite bet of the weekend. Niemann comes in with excellent form, finishing T3-T27-T23-T13-6 in his last five tournaments. After a tough summer with the flat stick, Niemann has Gained Strokes Putting in each of the last five events, which is a great signed for a player that was already an elite ball striker.
For Fitzpatrick, he finished t-12 last week but has missed the cut in three of his last five starts in North America. He's a great putter, but Niemann's length and iron play should help him take greater advantage of the gettable Par 5s.
-- by Timmy Bits