Golf Tips: Best bets for Zozo Championship and Mallorca Open

  • Max Liu
  • 3:00 min read
Patrick Cantlay wins the 2020 Zozo Championship
Who will follow Patrick Cantlay in winning the Zozo Championship?

Get the best bets from Steve Rawlings, Dave Tindall and the rest of our golf expert's for this week's Zozo Championship and Mallorca Open...

"South Africans won the three events in the Canary Islands and, if the big hitters are going to be favoured this week, another may go in here. They don't get much bigger than Wilco Nienaber... "

Zozo Championship: Prolific Morikawa the man to beat in Japan

The PGA Tour visits Japan this week for the third edition of the Zozo Championship. Our man has the lowdown ahead of Thursday's early start.

Steve says: "The course ends with the hardest and the easiest holes so that's well worth bearing in mind if you're trading in-running on Sunday. The long par four 17th was one of only five holes to average above par in 2019 and there was almost half a stroke between the two averages with the par five 18th (the easiest on the course) averaging just 4.65 compared to 17's 4.13.

"Anyone playing 18, and especially if they've driven and found the fairway, should be favoured over anyone behind them that still has the 17th to play...

"Take out the front three in the betting and this isn't a strong field. I can see one of the jollies taking the title and I was quite tempted to back the three combined at just a smidgen over 9/4 but after much deliberation, I'm going to play just one. Last week's runner-up, Collin Morikawa.

"At only 24 and with two majors already tucked away, the world number three is the better of the three players and by some distance of late, he's the more prolific. He's won four times in the last two years, Schauffele and Matsuyama have a win apiece."

Steve's bet: Collin Morikawa @ 9.28/1

Zozo Championship First-Round Leader Tips: Try Japanese duo at Narashino

Who has the game to make a fast start in Japan on Thursday? Dave Tindall has three each-way picks to be First Round Leader at Narashino Country Club.

"Satoshi Kodaira is a fairly well-known figure on the PGA Tour and has a win under his belt after denying Si-Woo Kim in a play-off at the RBC Heritage. That's said through gritted teeth as quite a few of us were on Kim at 100/1.

Satoshi Kodaira 720.jpg

"But maybe Kodaira can get back in the good books here on another short, tree-lined course as he has some decent credentials for an 80/1 shot. The 32-year-old from Tokyo sprinkled several top 20s on the PGA Tour at the back end of last season and he comes here after finishing tied 11th in the Japan Open last week.

"Kodaira was second after 54 holes there so it was hardly a backdoor tied 11th. He'd started the Japan Open with a 66, the same Thursday score he posted at the previous week's Bridgestone Open, and a check of the 18-hole positions shows him in the top four after day one in both tournaments."

Dave's bet: Back Satoshi Kodaira E/W @ 81.080/1

Zozo Championship Tips: Matsuyama can score home win

Dave supplied two placed golfers at last week's CJ Cup so pay attention to his three each-way tips for the action at Narashino Country Club.

Dave says: "My very first thought here was that Matsuyama looked interesting at 12/1 - double that of Schauffele and Morikawa. If those two comparison courses are worth something then the Japanese star won at Augusta earlier this year and finished third in last year's BMW Championship at Olympia Fields.

"And not only do we have correlation course form, we have actual course form: Matsuyama was runner-up here at Narashino in the first edition of the Zozo in 2019.

"He wasn't particularly great in the two birdie-fests in Vegas, failing to build on respective openers of 65 and 66, but did place tied sixth in his season-opener at the Fortinet Championship.

"Matsuyama will be giving it everything this week and hopefully he can 'do a Tiger' and follow up his Masters victory by winning here in the same calendar year."

Dave's bet: Hideki Matsuyama each-way @ 13.012/1

Zozo Championship 2021: Form guide

Andy Swales discusses the players' form and more ahead of this week's PGA Tour event at the Narashino Country Club.

Andy says: "Olympic champion Xander Schauffele has also made the trip to Japan, and will tee-up on Thursday just 65 miles from where he was presented with the gold medal on August 1st.

"Xander Schauffele certainly has good memories of the Far East, having won the HSBC Champions Tournament in Shanghai, China, three years ago - and was runner-up there one year later. Two years ago at Narashino he tied-10th.

"Another pro whose form certainly remains solid on his travels is Englishman Paul Casey. The 44-year-old world No 27 has won twice in China, four times in the Middle East, plus once each in Australia and Korea. And he was tied-17th here in 2019.

"And if you're looking to back one of the home players this week - perhaps as an e/w bet - then how about 30-year-old Ryosuke Kinoshita? Kinoshita is a career-high No 72 in the world thanks to a brace of wins on the Japan Tour this year - along with six other top-10s."

Back Ryosuke Kinoshita each-way @ 190.00189/1

Find Me a 100 Winner: Promising youngsters chanced in Spain and Japan

Steve continues his quest to land a winner at monster odds with bets at both of this week's events.

Steve says: "China's Bai Zhengkai has been plying his trade on the Korn Ferry Tour over the last year or so with only limited success but he might just contend in this grade given he won on both the PGA China Tour and the Challenge Tour only two years ago.

"His best finishes on the KFT this year are a sixth place at the Huntsville Championship in May and 13th at the Utah Championship in August, in his penultimate start, but that was a really encouraging effort given he led at the halfway stage.

"Bai Zhengkai, nicknamed 'Bobby' Bai, became the first Chinese player to win on the Challenge Tour when he triumphed on home-soil at the 2019 Foshan Open almost exactly two years ago. He birdied the last four holes in-a-row in round four to win by four and that came a month after he'd finished second in the Haikou Classic and four months after he'd won the Huangshan Championship."

Steve's bet: Back Bai Zhengkai @ each-way @ 130.00129/1

Mallorca Golf Open: Youngsters chanced at Santa Ponsa

The European Tour visits Mallorca for it's third event on Spanish soil in three weeks and our man has the lowdown ahead of Thursday's start...

Steve says: "The fact that the world number 124 Thomas Pieters, who's won just once in the last five years, is vying for favouritism with European Tour maiden Laurie Canter, who yet again fluffed his lines when in with a chance to win on Sunday, tells us all we need to know about the strength of this event.

"Neither men make any appeal at around 20/1 and I'm in no rush to side with any of the market leaders...

"South Africans won the three events in the Canary Islands and, if the big hitters are going to be favoured this week, another may go in here. They don't get much bigger than Wilco Nienaber, who currently averages 325 form the tee, and he arrives on the island in fair form.

"After a run of four missed cuts, the 21-year-old has made the weekend on each of his last four outing and whilst his tied 49th last week was underwhelming, his top-six finish the week before at the Open de Espana was an encouraging performance and he should enjoy this test."

Steve's bet: Wilco Nienaber @ 40.039/1

Mallorca Golf Open Each-Way Tips: Island magic can inspire Syme

Matt Cooper has three selections for the Mallorca Golf Open with the Betfair Sportsbook paying seven places...

Matt says: "First pick is Scotland's Connor Syme. The 26-year-old is currently just about safe on the Race to Dubai rankings, sitting at 102nd, and he's missed a fair few cuts in recent times, but he carded three fine rounds when T34th at the Open de Espana and should be happy to reacquaint himself with Spanish island golf.

connor syme valderrama.jpg

"Admittedly Mallorca is some way from the Canaries, but the vibe, the test and the field will be similar to the three events held in the Atlantic in April and May. Syme thrashed middle rounds of 61 and 62 to lie second after 54 holes in the first of those, before ending the week fifth. Two weeks later he started 66-64 to lie second at halfway on his way to T12th.

"This week is likely - if past scores at Santa Ponsa are anything to go by - to be tougher than those three weeks, but Syme did land a top 10 at Valderrama last year so he can guts it out."

Matt's bet: Connor Syme 1pt each-way @ 81.080/1

Mallorca Open: Form stats for week three of the 'Iberia Swing'

Andy Swales provides the course info and form stats for this week's European Tour event at Santa Ponsa.

Andy says: "Opened in 1977, Golf Santa Ponsa is a 45-hole resort which made its Tour debut 11 years later. The Golf Santa Ponsa website says big hitters will enjoy the layout's wide fairways, while water comes into play on eight holes.

"As for those who have certainly proved their mettle as tournament winners is American John Catlin. The world No 121 has won three times on the European Tour - including once this year - and on Sunday fired a 67 en route to finishing tied-11th at Valderrama. Catlin is also a four-time winner on the Asian Tour and has developed a habit of getting over the line in first place...

"New Zealander Ryan Fox is another to consider following his tie-for-fourth at the weekend. This represented the 34-year-old's best performance since early February, and came on the back of his tied-24th in Madrid the previous week."

Back Ryan Fox @ 26.025/1

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