Golf picks: ZOZO Championship predictions & best bets from Diane Knox Balas

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Diane Knox Balas


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Diane Knox Balas loves golf (she’s Scottish, so of course she does) but let’s just say she’s much better at analyzing golf than playing! The same cannot be said for her brother, Russell Knox, who’s a 2-time winner on the PGA Tour and fueled Diane’s initial passion for the sport. A seasoned TV and radio host, Diane has given out 8 outright winners since joining the Pickswise team in April 2022. Her general rule is she has to have three stand-out reasons for each pick and spends her time studying stats, playing form and little nuggets of information from golfers’ lives on Tour. Diane lives in Jacksonville, Florida with her husband Garrett, son Greyson and two English Bulldogs Bowser & Barkley. You can follow her antics on Twitter @KnoxyDiane and Instagram @dianeknoxbalas. For Diane Knox Balas media enquiries, please email
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What a race to the finish line at the Shriners last week! At one point on the back nine on Sunday, six were tied for the lead with another seven guys only one shot back. It was Tom Kim who beat off the pack to successfully defend his title at TPC Summerlin, making him the youngest player since Tiger to win three PGA Tour titles. 

When asked how he was going to celebrate in Sin City, now that he’s of legal age to drink, the 21 year old said he was going to head back to his hotel room and finish a European chocolate bar that he’d started earlier that day. Not doing much for the “golfers aren’t nerds” argument, Tom…!

The FedEx Fall continues this week in Japan with the ZOZO Championship. We have an impressive field making the trip to the Land of the Rising Sun, with Hideki Matsuyama, Rickie Fowler, Xander Schauffele and last year’s winner Keegan Bradley all teeing it up.

It’s a smaller 78-man field this week with no cut. Although we have a bunch of players this week who are inside the FedExCup top-50, and their positions cannot change, a lot of guys are still vying for their place within the top-125 “safe zone” for next season, and the top-10 at the end of this FedEx Fall earn a place in the first two signature events.

Accordia Golf Narashino Country Club: What you need to know

It’s back to Accordia Golf Narashino Country Club for the fourth time. The course is a par 70, measuring 7,079 yards. It’s a short, tight course with a lot of angles to navigate. The PGA Tour offer limited stats for the tournament, but the course favors accuracy over length, with great greens in regulation and putting. Hideki also lead the field in scrambling on his way to victory in 2021.

This is a fantastic parkland golf course with large, sloping greens and tree-lined fairways. Actually, every hole on the course has two greens, making for a lot of variety in the set-up.

Knox’s Knockout ZOZO Championship Open Winner Predictions

Min Woo Lee (+2000 at DraftKings)

Min Woo is teeing it up on the PGA Tour for the first time since The Open but has recently posted top-15 finishes on the DP World Tour. Additionally, he’s coming off a win last week on the Asian Tour, claiming a 2-stroke victory at the SJM Macao Open. The Aussie has really stepped up to the plate in the biggest events of 2023, finishing T5 at the U.S. Open, T6 at The Players and T18 at the PGA Championship. His putting and off-the-tee performances are the real strength of his game, and he exudes confidence everywhere he tees it up.

Keegan Bradley (+2500 at DraftKings)

I like the defending champion for many reasons this week, but a huge ol’ ‘chip on the shoulder’ might be the most convincing point on my list. Bradley was left off the Ryder Cup team, when a large proportion of Team USA fans considered him to be a shoe-in. Somewhat deserving of a spot, Bradley has two wins under his belt this season and finished inside the top-10 at the Tour Championship. He hasn’t played in a tournament since then (back in August) but his season-long stats are all very consistent – 20th in putting, 22nd in strokes gained: total, and he hasn’t lost any strokes in approach since June. In addition to the win, Keegan’s played in the ZOZO twice and finished T7 and T13. Great odds for another victory.

Cameron Champ (+8000 at Caesars Sportsbook)

It’s great to see Champ’s name on leaderboards of late after a real slump in his game. In fact, at last year’s ZOZO, Cameron finished 8th in what was his best finish in months, amongst a string of missed cuts. He’s in the field this week on a sponsors exemption, and is looking to capitalize on another solid week in Vegas, taking the 36-hole lead and eventually finishing T18. He also finished within the top-10 at the Sanderson Farms a few weeks ago. His putting has been a real downfall of his game, however he’s gained strokes on the greens in his last two starts. At 127th in the FedExCup standings, Champ has to keep this form going and should view this as an excellent bonus week to advance and hopefully lock up his card. 

K.H. Lee (+10000 at Caesars Sportsbook)

K.H. Lee has had a season of ups and downs. In 30 events this season, he’s missed the cut 11 times, finished with the top-25 7 times and has four top-10s, one of which came last week in Vegas. The putter performed at the Shriners, which has been the weakest part of Lee’s game, and at 73rd in the standings he’s competing for a place in the first two signature events of 2024. Big cash incentives if he makes it! The South Korean is in form and I love these odds.

ZOZO Championship Prop Best Bets

Takumi Kanaya top-10 (+475 at Bet365)

Kanaya is a former world #1 ranked amateur, a title he held for over a year, and is in the field this week after winning the BMW Japan Golf Tour Championship Mori Building Cup (one of the four major championships on the Japan Golf Tour). He finished 7th here two years ago and has eleven top-10s on the Japan Tour this year, three of those being victories. He’s going to be a fan-favorite this week and just continues to improve.

Cam Davis top-10 (+200 at FanDuel)

Short odds, but I like Cam Davis to perform again this week. Five top-10s in his last six starts, including a T7 last week, and is playing here for the second time. The Aussie seems to be dialed in right now and I’ll take him to play well again this week.

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