Yes, that’s their choice to use ALL CAPS, not mine. Guess what’s next week? THE CJ CUP? MOAR CAPS!
Accordia Golf Narashino Country Club
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Accordia Golf Narashino Country Club
|Yards (per official scorecard):||7,091|
|Greens:||5,500 square feet; Bentgrass.|
|Rough:||Zoysia at two inches.|
|Bunkers/Water Hazards||71/5 (in play on 5 holes).|
|Architects:||Kinya Fujita (1965).|
|Course Record (last):||63 (four times including Hiroshi Iwata 2021 and Keegan Bradley 2019).|
|Course Tournament Scoring Record (last):||261; Tiger Woods (-19, 2019).|
|Facts of the Week:||Each hole has two greens but only one in play.|
|Purse:||$11 million; $1.98 million winner.|
- Field of 78
- 72 hole stroke play, no cut.
- Rainy season in Japan.
- 2020 edition played in Los Angeles.
Italics – not entered this week
|2021||Hideki Matsuyama (-15)||Won by five with four more rounds in the 60s.|
|2020||Patrick Cantlay||Event was played at Sherwood Country Club in Los Angeles.|
|2019||Tiger Woods (-19)||Circled 27 birdies to win for the 82nd time on TOUR.|
Many challenges this week have been highlight throughout my other pieces but a quick summary here:
Rainy season in Japan could lengthen the hardest holes on the course.
Tight driving conditions and greens that are tough to hit changes the expectation after a couple of weeks of shootouts.
Limited field (78) with no cut and a big purse.
Five Par-3 holes and three Par-5 holes on Par-70.
Only the third time for this event to be played in Japan. Those playing for the third time will have a decided schematic advantage.
For those of you beautiful bastards and bastardettes playing OAD this fall, I commend you.
I am not.
MENTAL HEALTH BREAK.
Here’s how it works for all of you newbies:
I’ll evaluate the top players identified by my book.
Anybody worse than 25-1 will be DEALER’S CHOICE.
If you don’t see a review of a player you might need, please read the accompanying material. I’m not going to write everything twice.
I will also point out LAWNG SHOTS and FUNNY MUNNY choices for you sickos who need a lottery ticket.
This Week – ZOZO CHAMPIONSHIP
Xander Schauffele (+800): Wonderful record in limited field/no cut events including a gold medal at the Olympics in this country. Hot Presidents Cup after finishing T3 and fourth in the final two events of the FedExCup Playoffs suggests he’ll be rolling again this week.
Sungjae Im (+1100): Last four events on his own ball have cashed three seconds and a T7. That any good? T3 here on debut in 2019 gives him an excellent starting point this week on top of his form.
Hideki Matsuyama (+1100): Didn’t chase it in Vegas. Closed with 65 at Fortinet before the Presidents Cup. It’s his open and only Tiger has beaten him here. Easy choice.
Collin Morikawa (+1400): We know it’s in there. Third visit should eliminate the course management homework. Monster iron player should be licking his chops. Wild swings in the FedExCup playoffs (65-79; 65-73) late was interesting to see.
Tom Kim (+1400): Go read below what I wrote last week. And he won. Does anything effect this guy? Oh to be 20 again!
Cameron Young (+1600): Last time he had to get his passport stamped for golf he posted 19-under at the Old Course and was second in The Open. Not bad! Every course for him is a new course until it’s not. Tough fairways to hit here and he kills it off the tee. Interesting.
Viktor Hovland (+2000): T5 at a tough and tight Wentworth before T34 at Marco Simeone suggests rust won’t be an issue. First time here in 2019 opened 75-65 before cashing T41.
Tommy Fleetwood (+2200): Thought he was turning the corner after July on the links but has cooled since. Plenty of reps here and that will help in a non-major field this week. Nothing better than T22 in his last three worldwide.
Tyrrell Hatton (+2500): Lovely outsider for the favorites as he’s won big events before and rolls in on form with T7 and solo eighth in his last two worldwide. Classy putter will have to acclimate, and will have all four rounds to get it right.
Keegan Bradley (+2800): Showing up for the third consecutive time in Tokyo tells me all I need to know. T5 last time out at SFC, T7 here closing with 65 last year.
Mito Pereira (+3500): Flushes it everywhere. Looks like he’s finally put the disappointment of Southern Hills behind him. Solid Presidents Cup and 20-under at Shriners (T4) is my proof.
Sahith Theegala (+4000): No expectations this week so he can just go about his business. Tough course tee to green should have his attention and dial him in.
Maverick McNealy (+4000): Hard to ignore 64 open and close last week (T10) on a track where he’s never cashed a big check. Took a while to figure it out here last year but closed with 65 for T25. Heat wave.
Longer Shots/Funny Money
Aaron Rai (+10000): Too much international experience and game tee to green. Uneven form across the tours recently (T20-T61-T5-MC) explains the number. Posted 62 in Round 3 at TPC Summerlin last week for more evidence.
Joel Dahmen (+14000): Bentgrass. Washington state weather. Revenge after DFL in 2019. Sat 11th SG: TTG last season.
Takumi Kanaya (+17500): Closed 68-66 in his first appearance last year. Stick him in Top 10, Top 20 easy.
Dylan Frittelli (+14000): Late addition. T22 here in 2019. Hit or miss.
Last Week – Shriners Children’s Open
Patrick Cantlay (+650): In a field of 144? Probably not. His stats tell us he’s only been beaten by nine players here in four trips so that’s something. He’s RETURNING to this event so that gives you a clue to his motivation, the site of his first TOUR win. T2. The list is now just 10 players who have beaten him on this tract. Amazing.
Sungjae Im (+1100): Birdie machine and defending champ. Half of his 12 rounds here are 65 or better. Like Cantlay, will there be a Presidents Cup hangover? Can’t throw away a round this week to get the rust off. Solo seventh as he added another 65 and another 63.
Max Homa (+1800): Still seething that he had to sit out a round at the Presidents Cup. Who’s hotter?!?!?!? Win at Silverado, 4-0 at PC, what’s not to like? Unless that baby comes early…T20 with three rounds of 67 and zero rounds in the 70s.
Aaron Wise (+2000): Resident will be making start No. 7 so there’s nothing holding him back. T8 is the best of the bunch and he threw that up in event No. 6 so he’s trending. Only win at Trinity Forest was after posting 23-under. Went T8-T5 in the Vegas back to back last year. Ding. T64. Dong.
Tom Kim (+2200): Go on, lad. Go on. 61 to close at Wyndham to win on 20-under. Presidents Cup legend. Seal is broken. Good luck getting the toothpaste back into the tube. And yes, it’s “Tom”. It’s officially changed on PGATOUR.COM. WIN. Unbelievable performance as he tied the event record on 24-under and outdueled Cantlay. 24 birdies 0 Bogeys. King.
Taylor Montgomery (+2800): He was in my final handful of KFT Power Rankings as he was rolling along. The change to the TOUR has been seamless as he’s added two more top 10 finishes. Oh, he grew up here and lives here as well. Stars aligned? T15 breaks his run of top 10 paydays. He gets it.
Cam Davis (+3500): Has no problem racking up Par-Breakers and that’s needed this week. Already has a win under his belt so that won’t be hanging over him down the stretch. T37 as 71 on Sunday at this event feels like 81.
Emiliano Grillo (+4500): Heat shows three top 5s from his last seven on TOUR. Number here suggests they’re not convinced. Better get in before the putter wakes up. Hard to ignore at this price. T73 with two rounds of 71 or worse.
KH Lee (+6000): Just whisper in his ear that this is the TPC Craig Ranch of Nevada. Opened with 72. T37.
Matthew NeSmith (+6600): Read HFC. And top 10 last week. Converge. Career best T2 finish. Easy, eh?
Andrew Putnam (+9000): Streak is six straight on TOUR. Sat 16-under here after 54 holes last year. Get some. T12. Likes it here.
Longer Shots/Funny Money
Nick Taylor (+10000): Only MC here in eight tries was 4-under last year. MC
Robby Shelton (+12500): Won twice on KFT last season, only multiple winner and let the KFT in Putting Average. Making a ton of putts this week will not hurt! T15 with 70 on Sunday.
Kevin Yu (+17500): Knows a bit about golf in the desert from his days at ASU. Very solid ball-striking week in Mississippi and riding a sponsor’s exemption. T37 and making cuts.
Rory Sabbatini (+20000): Don’t rush him to the front of the ticket but his last two are his best two here by miles. Nibble. MC.
Harrison Endycott (+35000): Got back in after Davis Riley WD. KFT grad will need to use every opportunity to move up the reshuffle. T69, nice.
Danny Lee (+40000): Shootout on Bentgrass. Please don’t WD. MC.