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The ZOZO CHAMPIONSHIP: Viktor Hovland Is a Proven Winner

Written by: Dave Tindall
Updated October 14, 2022
17 min read
  • The PGA TOUR heads to Narashino Country Club in Japan
  • The course is a short par 70 which has five par 3s
  • Xander Schauffele, who won Olympic gold in Japan, is the favorite to win


The odds for this tournament are provided by Caesars Sportsbook. Click on the odds below to head to Caesars Sportsbook and place a bet.

Player Odds
Xander Schauffele +850
Sungjae Im +1200
Tom Kim +1400
Collin Morikawa +1400
Hideki Matsuyama +1400
Cameron Young +1600
Viktor Hovland +1800
Tommy Fleetwood +2200
Tyrrell Hatton +2500
Corey Conners +2500
Si Woo Kim +3000


Viktor Hovland for the win at +1800 with Caesars Sportsbook.

Keegan Bradley to beat Tommy Fleetwood in a 72-hole match at -120 with DraftKings Sportsbook.

Tom Hoge to finish in the Top 10 at +300 with DraftKings Sportsbook.

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Zozo Championship Viktor Hovland


The fourth staging of the ZOZO CHAMPIONSHIP takes us back to Japan so be prepared for some late nights with the coverage straddling either side of midnight in the US.

This week’s course, Narashino Country Club, was the scene of Tiger Woods’ 82nd PGA TOUR win and his success there in 2019 tied Sam Snead’s record of 82 victories.

Will it prove to be his last? We’ve been down that route before and it’s foolish to ever write the great man off.

The pandemic meant the tournament was switched to Sherwood Country Club in 2020, Patrick Cantlay outlasting Jon Rahm and Justin Thomas by a shot.

Local hero Hideki Matsuyama powered to a five-shot win when the event returned to Japan in 2021. He’d finished runner-up to Woods in 2019.

Tiger fired 19-under in soft conditions when hoisting the silverware but Matsuyama’s 15-under was the only total better than 10-under in 2021.

Narashino is a typical Japanese course featuring tight, tree-lined fairways. It’s a short par 70 measuring just 7,079 yards.

The ball sits up nicely when tee shots find the short Zoysia grass but it can be sticky and difficult to escape when longer.

Tiger pointed out that hitting out of Zoysia from the rough can produce some “monster flyers” so it seems important to find the short stuff.

There’s a limited field of 78 and no cut while a hefty purse of $11,000,000 is on offer.

Frustratingly, no Shotlink data is available from this tournament and no regular stats were recorded last year.

When Tiger won, he ranked 7th in Driving Accuracy, 3rd for Greens In Regulation, and 2nd in Putting Average.

Hovland for the Win

With a limited field of 78 and plenty of big names not making the trip to Japan, the +1800 about Viktor Hovland certainly catches the eye.

The Norwegian played this event back in 2019 and, at first glance, there doesn’t look much to say about his finish of tied 41st.

He played himself out of contention on day one but certainly got to grips with Narashino over the middle two days when firing 65-67.

Hovland also pegged it up in Japan at the 2021 Summer Olympics, again showing what might have been when firing a closing 64 to finish in the top 15.

Fourth in July’s Open Championship, last month he probably wished the BMW PGA Championship on tree-lined Wentworth was over 72 holes rather than 54 (due to weather) as he ended the event in fifth.

Hovland has three PGA Tour wins, two on the DP World Tour and another at the 2021 Hero World Challenge last December.

In other words, the 25-year-old knows how to get it done, and with two of those victories coming in December and another in November, he’s done well at a time of year when others are perhaps winding down.

Take the +1800 at Caesars Sportsbook.

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Bradley to Outscore Fleetwood

Keegan Bradley v Tommy Fleetwood looks like an interesting match-up over 72 holes as both players finished in a tie for seventh at this course last year.

Bradley edged Fleetwood by a couple of shots in 2019 and I’m going to take the American to prevail again.

Fleetwood is still trying to find his best form again and had to settle for a run of 57-22-39 in his latest three DP World Tour events, the BMW PGA Championship, the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship, and last week’s Open de Espana.

Right now, Bradley looks the sharper player after his fifth spot at the Sanderson Farms Championship a couple of weeks ago.

He drove and putted well and those two skills are rewarded well at Narashino.

Outside of Fleetwood’s native UK, Bradley has won six and tied two of their last 10 head-to-heads so it generally pays to back the American in this match-up.

Back Bradley at -120 with DraftKings Sportsbook.

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Take Hoge for a Top 10

Tom Hoge touches down at Narita International airport as one of the PGA Tour’s in-form players.

After finishing last season with two top fives in his final four starts, he’s started the new one with tied 12th at the Fortinet Championship and tied fourth in last week’s Shriners Children’s Open.

Those strong results in the Tour Championship and the Fortinet have added relevance as both came on tree-lined courses which correlate well to this week’s test.

Hoge ranked 2nd for Strokes Gained: Approach last week so is stripping his irons and the putter looks good too.

In addition, he has experience playing in Japan after contesting in this event last year.

It took him a little while to get used to the change of environment but from lying outside the top 50 after 18 holes he recovered to finish tied 17th after laps of 66-69 on the weekend.

He’ll be more confident this time and his game is strong enough at the moment to make a good run.

Take Hoge for a Top 10 at +300 with DraftKings Sportsbook.

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Location Accordia Golf Narashino Country Club, Chiba, Japan
Time Thursday, October 13 – Sunday, October 16
How to watch Wednesday (into Thursday) & Thursday (into Friday) 11 pm-3 am ET (Golf Channel), Friday (into Saturday) 10.30 pm-2.30 am (Golf Channel), Saturday (into Sunday) 11 pm-3 am (Golf Channel). All 4 days on Sky Sports
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Dave Tindall

110 Articles

Dave Tindall is former golf editor at SkySports.com and Golf365.com and has been writing betting previews for the PGA Tour and European Tour since 1997. He has also written for a range of betting companies, including William Hill and Betfair, as well as being a regular columnist for Rotoworld, The Guardian, Sporting Life and Planet Sport. His other area of speciality is football while he's also covered cricket and tennis.

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