The fourth event of the fall leg of the 2022/23 PGA Tour schedule has some international flavor at the Narashino CC in Chiba, Japan. This is the deepest field we’ve seen in an event yet this season, so it’s a bit harder to label favorites for this particular tournament – especially with the travel factor.
Patrick Cantlay almost made it two for three for favorites so far this season, but he triple-bogeyed the 72nd hole of the Shriners Children’s Open which allowed Tom Kim to continue his meteoric rise with a three-stroke victory.
Max Homa claimed the season-opening Fortinet Championship as the favorite and defending champ, so is this weekend going to be chalk-heavy again?
Xander Schauffele (+800)
Xander Schauffele makes his 2022/23 Tour debut this weekend looking to continue his solid form from the end of last year. Over his last six tournaments, Schauffele has tallied wins at the Travelers Championship and the Genesis Scottish Open while placing third at the BMW Championship and fourth at Tour Championship.
Schauffele played in the Zozo Championship last season, finishing 28th. Although that’s a poor showing by Schauffele’s standards, it was still a valuable experience to get familiar with the course and the unique travel itinerary.
Sungjae Im (+1200)
Sungjae Im failed to defend his 2021 Shriners Children’s Open, but he still had a solid weekend and finished in seventh at TPC Summerlin. Im was 2-2-1 in his matches at the Presidents Cup and played even better than his 2.5 points indicated as he was dragged down a bit by Canadian Corey Conners in foursome play.
Collin Morikawa (+1400)
Collin Morikawa makes his fall Tour debut at the ZoZo Championship this weekend in some unfamiliar territory, considering he did not pick up a win last year.
Morikawa had become used to success claiming five wins over his first three professional seasons, but his best results last year were a couple of runner-ups at the CJ Cup and the Genesis Invitational.
Hideki Matsuyama (+1400)
Hideki Matsuyama will be a popular play this weekend as the returning ZoZo Championship winner, dominating last year’s tournament by five strokes (-15). It’s no shocker that Matsuyama won the 2021 event, as the Japanese native is very comfortable at Narashino CC.
Matsuyama led the field last year, hitting 81.9% of his GIR even with a 59.6% drive accuracy. He was also runner-up to Tiger Woods in the 2019 ZoZo Championship making him the most decorated player in the field at this course. The 2020 event was moved to California due to COVID travel restrictions.
Tom Kim (+1400)
If Matsuyama is going to be the most trendy pick this week in his native Japan, Tom Kim has to be a close second. The 20-year-old just became the second youngest player in Tour history to pick up his second win with the three-stroke victory at the Shriners Children’s Open.
Kim is also still on an emotional high after his impressive Presidents Cup performance, and he might already be one of the five most popular players on the Tour.