Golf Tips: The 8 Zozo Championship & Mallorca Open best bets this weekend

Sporting Life's golf tipping guru gives us his verdict this week.

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* All prices are bang up to date with our snazzy widgets, while odds in copy are accurate at time of publishing but subject to change.

* Read more of Ben Coley’s top tips at SportingLife.com

Zozo Championship

Hideki Matsuyama (NAP)

I’m going to start off with Hideki Matsuyama. The Zozo Championship is back in Japan. Two years ago it was a fantastic week despite the weather. Toger Woods won his 82nd PGA Tour title but it was Hideki Matsuyama who gave him the most to think about.

This is a significantly weaker field with no Tiger obviously, no Rory McIlroy, no Justin Thomas. So many of the players who were headline acts then, and even year ago when they played it in America instead when Patrick Cantlay beat Jon Rahm and Thomas, all these stars are absent so we’ve got a very weak field here.

Hideki, who was 2nd two years ago and has since become Masters champion, I think he can live up to the start billing. He’s played under a lot of pressure in the Olympics and he narrowly missed out on a medal there and obviously at Augusta in the spring where the watching Japanese media were there for him.

He’s raised his game this year so I think he can live up to the billing and beat Collin Morikawa and Xander Schauffele who are further up the betting.

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Joaquin Niemann (E/W)

I like Joaquin Niemann. I think the key here, it’s a real contrast. Last week at The Summit Club you’re in the desert in Vegas, hardly a tree in sight. It was fire your drives as far as you can, stack up the birdies.

This will be a lot more difficult and a lot more intricate. Joaquin Nieman, although he’s a big hitter, he grew up in Santiago, Chile, where the courses are narrow and tree lined. All of his best form on the PGA Tour has come when he’s found that familiarity.

All the courses that I thought might give us a form guide for this one, pointed toward Joaquin Niemann. I think he can go really, really well. I think there’s only three players better than him in the event and with Paddy paying seven places he looks a good each-way bet for me.

Sung-Hoon Kang (E/W)

Two at a bigger price and the first is Sung-Hoon Kang who’s back in form lately. He had a pretty miserable season that ended in August but since he’s been able to reset he did finish with his best performance of the year and he’s improived again.

He shot around 61 a couple weeks ago at the Shriners, he shot 64 in The CJ Cup and this is a much easier event, it might be a more suitable course. He was in the top 20 a couple of years ago.

I think he’s got a real chance here becuase this is a weak field and the fact that he’s won on the PGA Tour will stand him in good stead. Sung-Hoon Kang will have a lot in his favour this week and there have been signs that his A Game is not too far away at last.

Matthew NeSmith (E/W)

I do like Matthew NeSmith. He’s never quite put it together yet on the PGA Tour but he’s one of those who graduated and got his PGA Tour membership at the back end of 2019 so his experience at this level has been massively affected by the Covid 19 pandemic.

Last summer we had strong fields every week where usually you get some weaker ones and chances for players like him. Hopefully now for him he can kick on. He was 14th last week at the Shriners which was his best performance for several months.

Mallorca Open

Ryan Fox (NAP)

I’ll start with Ryan Fox who was 4th last week at Valderrama. He’s a massive hitter so you would think this course in Mallorca, which is a lot more open off the tee, would allow him to show off a little bit in that regard and maybe boss the par 5s.

If he plays to a similar level as last week I think he’s in the mix here. He’s got a real touch of class, the field is weak and getting weaker all the time as players withdraw – by all accounts the course is not in the best of shape.

That will be a problem they’ve all got to overcome but Ryan Fox is so good from tee to green and he’s peaking. I think in this sort of company there’s no excuses really. I’ll be disappointed if he doesn’t play really well.

Romain Langasque

I’ll go with Romain Langasque next, who won in Wales last year. I think at the time I wouldn’t have been alone in thinking he’d really kick on and establish himself, even as a potential Ryder Cup option. It’s not quite happened for him.

That’s largely becuase his iron play has gone missinng but it’s started to get better again recently. He’s made loads of good starts and last week at Valderrama he put it together for his best finish in months, he was 11th there.

A bit like Ryan Fox, I would expect his power off the tee would make this a more suitable venue. If it does get windy, he’s a former amateur champion at Carnoustie as well. So, however conditions play out I think he’s got plenty in his favour.

Alvaro Quiros (E/W)

One at a massive price and one slightly shorter up next. I’ll start with the shorter one which is Alvaro Quiros. At his absolute best he’s one of the better players in the field. It’s been a long time since he’s been at his best.

We don’t have to go too far back to when he won in Sicily in 2017 and that was in this sort of field. I think he’s playing as well now as he was back then. There’s certainly been some signs with his long game. If he can get that putter to warm up I think he’s got a massive performance in him.

Rhys Enoch (E/W)

I also really like Rhys Enoch. He’s a Welshman by nationality but he actually plays out of Cornwall. He’s played a lot of golf by the coast so if it does get windy in Mallorca this week he won’t have any problems there.

He actually played in South Africa last week on The Sunshine Tour and finished 12th at a course where he’s had no previous success. It suggests to me, along with a load of good starts in his events on the European Tour that he’s really, really close.

The most significant thing of all the factors at play this week on the European Tour is there’s no Jon Rahm, there’s no Matt Fitzpatrick, there’s no Rafa Cabrera-Bello, it’s a big step down in grade. For a players like Rhys Enoch it’s an opportunity to go and grab his card for next year.

Ben’s golf tips this week:

ZOZO Championship:

Hideki Matsuyama (NAP)
Joaquin Niemann (E/W)
Sung-Hoon Kang (E/W)
Matthew NeSmith (E/W)

Mallorca Open:

Ryan Fox (NAP)
Romain Langasque
Alvaro Quiros (E/W)
Rhys Enoch (E/W)

* All prices are bang up to date with our snazzy widgets, while odds in copy are accurate at time of publishing but subject to change.

* Read more of Ben Coley’s top tips at SportingLife.com

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