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Horses for Courses: ZOZO CHAMPIONSHIP

2 Min Read

Horses for Courses

Horses for Courses: ZOZO CHAMPIONSHIP

    Written by Mike Glasscott @MikeGlasscott

    As the pandemic hopefully continues to slow down the TOUR speeds up as it returns to the Tokyo suburbs for the first time since 2019 for the ZOZO CHAMPIONSHIP. The invitational field of 78 players will navigate Accordia Golf Narashino Country Club for the second time in three years.

    The debut event in 2019 was conquered in the wee hours of the morning in the States by Tiger Woods for career win No. 82. Sadly, Woods is still recovering from serious injuries from a February car crash and won't be able to defend. The 2020 event was played at Sherwood Country Club in Los Angeles and won't provide any angle for this year's edition.

    Playing to Par-70 and 7,041 yards Narashino Country Club saw only nine players post 10-under or better during the maiden voyage. An interesting mix of FIVE Par-3 holes and THREE Par-5 holes is unusual for Par-70 track.

    So are having two greens on EVERY hole.

    Rob Bolton does an excellent job of explaining why that is the case.

    In the first edition the course played well over par (71.55) on Thursday before lift, clean and replace dropped the average after a deluge on Friday (68.31). Fairways will be difficult to find so approach and recovery shots will be the order of the week. The soft conditions of 2019, 10 inches of rain, won't be replicated so it will be interesting how firm it will or will not play.

    First time contestants won't have trusty green maps to rely on from the past edition and will have to learn on the fly. There were only 16 bogey-free rounds in the first edition. Summer Olympians returning to the Land of the Rising Sun will know some of the tricks to alleviate jet lag and culture shock.

    On the line is a purse of $9.95 million with the winner taking home $1.791 million plus 500 FedExCup points.

    Recent Event Winners

    WinnerTiger Woods
    Score261 (-19)
    Runner-upHideki Matsuyama
    Putting: Birdie or Better %1
    Birdies27 (1st)
    Putting Average:1
    3 Putts:3 (T47)
    Bogey AvoidanceT14
    Par-3 Scoring1 (-9)
    Par-4 ScoringT4
    Par-5 ScoringT9

    2019: Tiger Woods (-19, 261; not entered)


    Top golfers in each statistic on the PGA TOUR (thru 2021 season) are listed only if they are scheduled to compete this week.

    Strokes-Gained: Approach the Green
    1Collin Morikawa
    4Keegan Bradley
    7Will Zalatoris
    11Matthew NeSmith
    12Emiliano Grillo
    14Xander Schauffele
    16Charley Hoffman
    17Hideki Matsuyama
    18Kyle Stanley
    21Doug Ghim
    27Henrik Norlander
    31Matt Wallace
    37Lanto Griffin
    49Joaquin Niemann
    51Chris Kirk
    52Tom Hoge
    60Luke List
    Strokes-Gained: Putting
    8Brendon Todd
    11Chesson Hadley
    13Alex Noren
    15Mackenzie Hughes
    16Xander Schauffele
    34Lanto Griffin
    41Andrew Putnam
    43Charley Hoffman
    47Joaquin Niemann
    52Troy Merritt
    55Matt Jones
    56Harry Higgs
    64Erik van Rooyen
    68Robert Streb
    Par-3 Scoring Average
    6Joaquin Niemann
    14Alex Noren
    14Charley Hoffman
    22Kyle Stanley
    22Luke List
    22Doug Ghim
    22Chris Kirk
    33Maverick McNealy
    33Will Zalatoris
    33Xander Schauffele
    33Troy Merritt
    33Satoshi Kodaira
    33Collin Morikawa
    50Sebastian Munoz
    50Lanto Griffin
    50Emiliano Grillo
    50Doc Redman
    50Brendan Steele
    50James Hahn
    64Sepp Straka
    64Mackenzie Hughes
    64Adam Schenk
    64Keegan Bradley
    64Hideki Matsuyama
    64Andrew Putnam

    Horses for Courses - 2019 ZOZO FINISHERS

    (entered this week)(to par)
    Hideki Matsuyama2nd-1620 Birdies (T2); T2 Putts per GIR; only T29 Fairways but T6 GIR
    Xander SchauffeleT10-920 Birdies (T2); Only player in the top 10 to post worse than 70 in Round 4
    Ryan PalmerT10-9Only squared 5 bogeys (T1); 1 of 4 with all 4 rounds in the 60s
    Keegan BradleyT13-8Shared low round of the week (63); T47 Fairways but T6 GIR; 20 Birdies
    Sung KangT17-78 Bogeys; all 4 rounds par or better
    Tommy FleetwoodT22-66th Fairways; T6 GIR
    Collin MorikawaT22-6Second Round 64
    Adam Schenk T22 -64 Bogeys, 1 Double
    Emiliano GrilloT30-4T13 GIR; 7 Bogeys
    Troy MerrittT30-4T12 Putts
    Joaquin NiemannT33-37-under thru 54 before 74 Round 4
    Si Woo KimT37-2Played final 54 holes 8-under after opening with 76
    Satoshi KodairaT37-2Led the field with 38 of 52 Fairways hit
    Chan KimT41-1Posted 2 rounds in the 60s
    Wyndham ClarkT46EPlayed final 54 holes 4-under after 74 to open
    Tomaharu OtsukiT46E3rd Fairways, T13 GIR
    Rikuya HoshinoT511-overT68 Putting
    Shaun NorrisT511-over18 birdies; #ActiveScorecard
    Jinichiro KozumaT572-overT8 Putts
    CT PanT593-over74th Putts
    Andrew PutnamT593-overOpened with 68
    Shugo ImahiraT593-overHalf of his 8 Birdies were in Round 4
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