This week, the PGA Tour is headed to Chiba, Japan, to play the third-ever Zozo Championship at the Narashino Country Club and CaddyBets brings you the Zozo Championship round 1 and 2 highlights
Last year’s event was held in California due to the pandemic, so it will be good to have the event held on its home soil this year. Unless you are an avid golf fan that enjoys watching your rounds live, most of the rounds will be played in the middle of the night for a lot of us.
This limited-field event of 78 golfers total has the biggest purse of any tournament for the remainder of this year on the PGA Tour. With Top-10 players Collin Morikawa and Xander Schauffele both going for their first wins of the young season, Rickie Fowler trying to back up his outstanding performance from last week’s CJ Cup at Summit, and Hideki Matsuyama trying to cap his all-time year with a win in his home country, there will be plenty of storylines to catch up on in the morning.
A year ago, Patrick Cantlay won the tournament by a one-stroke margin over Jon Rahm and Justin Thomas. This year, Xander Schauffele (+550) is the odds favorite to win, as projected by Jazzsports,ag/*, and he’s followed by Collin Morikawa (+700) and Hideki Matsuyama (+1200), but after a round of play did the favorites live up to their billing?
Not exactly, but the odds have changed after one round of play with Hideki Matsuyama, now the odds-on favorite to win the whole thing at +260, as projected by Jazzsports.ag/*. Matsuyama sits right ahead of Joaquin Niemann (+400) as both men are chasing an unlikely Round 1 leader in Hiroshi Iwata, who shot 7-under 63 over the first 18 holes and went birdie-birdie-eagle to close out his first nine holes before taking a one-stroke lead with his performance on the back nine. However, even with that impressive play, the oddsmakers are still hesitant to push Iwata to the top, as they have given him +2800 odds to win the whole thing after his opening round.
As Iwata does come as a bit of a surprise after day one, we’re not sure he can take this tournament wire-to-wire as he is currently ranked 161 in the world. Still, it was sure to make for some exciting drama if he can hold on and be in contention come Sunday in front of his home country.
Matsuyama and Niemann combined for 12 birdies and no bogeys on Thursday, which is impressive considering there were only 28 players who broke par. After his round, Niemann pointed out the course difficulty, which should keep both in contention based on the ability to thrive on challenging courses.
Another day, another change at the top of the leader board at the Zozo Championship. After two rounds, local favorite Hideki Matsuyama leap-frogged Hiroshi Iwata by shooting a 2-under 68 for a one-stroke lead. Unfortunately, Iwata was not as sharp with his play in his second round, struggling a bit to find any consistency. Iwata finished the day by shooting a 3-over par, dropping him into a tie for 7th place, and dropping his odds to win the whole tournament out of the top 15.
Matsuyama, on the other hand, continued his strong play in round two. Last year’s Masters champion currently sits at 8-under and remains the odds-on favorite at +160 to win the whole tournament, as projected by https://jazzsports.ag/*.
It was not an easy round for anyone due to the cool and wet conditions. Still, Matsuyama powered through to fire a two-under 68, which was enough to install him as the outright leader on eight-under, just ahead of Cameron Tringale at Narashino Country Club in Chiba Prefecture near Tokyo.
American Cameron Tringale made five birdies during his second round and matched the day’s low round at a 4-under 66, which moved him up four places into outright second at 7-under. Tringale’s strong play inserted him right behind Matsuyama with +550 odds to win the whole tournament, as projected by https://jazzsports.ag/*.
Matsuyama was the story of the day. Playing in front of his home crowd, the 29-year-old Matsuyama birdied the 13th hole, three-putted the par-4 17th for a bogey before bouncing back on the par-5 18th, reaching the green in two, and birdying.
The bogey on the 17th was the only shot he dropped so far in the entire tournament.
It must have been the cold, wet conditions that brought a pair of Englishmen into contention following their strong round two performances. Matt Wallace and Tommy Fleetwood battle the conditions by shooting a 1-under and 2-under, respectively. Wallace looked like he was in trouble after he bogeyed the long 14th and fell to 2-over on the day, but three straight birdies on the last three holes put him at 1-under for the day and 6-under for the tournament. Wallace started the season slow by missing the cut in the Sanderson Farms Championship, his first event of the PGA Tour’s 2021-22 campaign, Wallace then tied for 14th at the Shriners Children’s Open, and now he’s tied for third through 36 holes at the Zozo Championship, and sitting at +1200 odds to win the whole tournament. So maybe all Wallace needed was the colder weather to get his game in full gear.
Fleetwood made his fourth birdie of the round on the 18th to jump into a tie for fifth with Joaquin Niemann. Fleetwood’s strong play also helped him increase his odds of winning the tournament, as he currently sits at +1100, right behind Niemann, who dropped to +1000 odds to win it all, as projected by https://jazzsports.ag/*.
After round two at the Zozo Championship in Japan, Hideki Matsuyama remains the current favorite at +160, as projected by Jazzsports.ag/*. The odds after round two have been updated below.
HIDEKI MATSUYAMA +160
CAMERON TRINGALE +550
JOAQUIN NIEMANN +1000
TOMMY FLEETWOOD +1100
MATT WALLACE +1200
BRENDAN STEELE +1400
ALEX NOREN +2200
LANTO GRIFFIN +3000
COLLIN MORIKAWA +4000
MATT JONES +4000
SEBASTIAN MUNOZ +4000
TROY MERRITT +4500
ERIK VAN ROOYEN +5000
LUKE LIST +5000
MACKENZIE HUGHES +5000
FIELD (ANY OTHER) +500
Join us at Jazz Sports and make sure to stay tuned for the Zozo Championship round 1
Follow us on Social Media for instant golf odds and updates!