Horses for Courses: ZOZO CHAMPIONSHIP
October 19, 2021
By Mike Glasscott , PGATOUR.COM
- October 19, 2021
- Will Zalatoris is one to keep an eye out for at the ZOZO CHAMPIONSHIP. (Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
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
Season 2020 Year 2019 Winner Tiger Woods Score 261 (-19) MOV 3 Runner-up Hideki Matsuyama Age 43 Accuracy T7 GIR T3 Putting: Birdie or Better % 1 Birdies 27 (1st) Eagles 0 Putting Average: 1 3 Putts: 3 (T47) Scrambling 26 Bogey Avoidance T14 Par-3 Scoring 1 (-9) Par-4 Scoring T4 Par-5 Scoring T9
2019: Tiger Woods (-19, 261; not entered)
KEY STAT LEADERS
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 Rank Player 1 Collin Morikawa 4 Keegan Bradley 7 Will Zalatoris 11 Matthew NeSmith 12 Emiliano Grillo 14 Xander Schauffele 16 Charley Hoffman 17 Hideki Matsuyama 18 Kyle Stanley 21 Doug Ghim 27 Henrik Norlander 31 Matt Wallace 37 Lanto Griffin 49 Joaquin Niemann 51 Chris Kirk 52 Tom Hoge 60 Luke List Strokes-Gained: Putting Rank Player 8 Brendon Todd 11 Chesson Hadley 13 Alex Noren 15 Mackenzie Hughes 16 Xander Schauffele 34 Lanto Griffin 41 Andrew Putnam 43 Charley Hoffman 47 Joaquin Niemann 52 Troy Merritt 55 Matt Jones 56 Harry Higgs 64 Erik van Rooyen 68 Robert Streb Par-3 Scoring Average Rank Player 6 Joaquin Niemann 14 Alex Noren 14 Charley Hoffman 22 Kyle Stanley 22 Luke List 22 Doug Ghim 22 Chris Kirk 33 Maverick McNealy 33 Will Zalatoris 33 Xander Schauffele 33 Troy Merritt 33 Satoshi Kodaira 33 Collin Morikawa 50 Sebastian Munoz 50 Lanto Griffin 50 Emiliano Grillo 50 Doc Redman 50 Brendan Steele 50 James Hahn 64 Sepp Straka 64 Mackenzie Hughes 64 Adam Schenk 64 Keegan Bradley 64 Hideki Matsuyama 64 Andrew Putnam
Horses for Courses - 2019 ZOZO FINISHERS
Player Finish Score Notes (entered this week) (to par) Hideki Matsuyama 2nd -16 20 Birdies (T2); T2 Putts per GIR; only T29 Fairways but T6 GIR Xander Schauffele T10 -9 20 Birdies (T2); Only player in the top 10 to post worse than 70 in Round 4 Ryan Palmer T10 -9 Only squared 5 bogeys (T1); 1 of 4 with all 4 rounds in the 60s Keegan Bradley T13 -8 Shared low round of the week (63); T47 Fairways but T6 GIR; 20 Birdies Sung Kang T17 -7 8 Bogeys; all 4 rounds par or better Tommy Fleetwood T22 -6 6th Fairways; T6 GIR Collin Morikawa T22 -6 Second Round 64 Adam Schenk T22 -6 4 Bogeys, 1 Double Emiliano Grillo T30 -4 T13 GIR; 7 Bogeys Troy Merritt T30 -4 T12 Putts Joaquin Niemann T33 -3 7-under thru 54 before 74 Round 4 Si Woo Kim T37 -2 Played final 54 holes 8-under after opening with 76 Satoshi Kodaira T37 -2 Led the field with 38 of 52 Fairways hit Chan Kim T41 -1 Posted 2 rounds in the 60s Wyndham Clark T46 E Played final 54 holes 4-under after 74 to open Tomaharu Otsuki T46 E 3rd Fairways, T13 GIR Rikuya Hoshino T51 1-over T68 Putting Shaun Norris T51 1-over 18 birdies; #ActiveScorecard Jinichiro Kozuma T57 2-over T8 Putts CT Pan T59 3-over 74th Putts Andrew Putnam T59 3-over Opened with 68 Shugo Imahira T59 3-over Half of his 8 Birdies were in Round 4