For the second time Narashino Country Club will host this event outside Tokyo.
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
|Putting: Birdie or Better %||1|
|3 Putts:||3 (T47)|
|Par-3 Scoring||1 (-9)|
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|
|64||Erik van Rooyen|
|Par-3 Scoring Average|
Horses for Courses – 2019 ZOZO FINISHERS
|(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|