40/141.00 Cameron Champ is in form and loves Japan
55/156.00 Tom Hoge has two good efforts on this course
40/141.00 Beau Hossler looks on the brink of a win
The PGA Tour has a very international feel over the next few weeks with events in Japan, Mexico and Bermuda.
As well as adding to the collection of passport stamps, there's plenty on the line too as players battle to cement tour cards by finishing in the top 125 or boosting their FedEx Cup/World ranking to secure passage into more elite events in 2024.
The globe-trotting begins with a return trip to Tokyo and a course which is starting to become familiar.
Accordia Golf Narashino CC, to give it the full name, is a composite par 70 featuring a slightly unusual configuration of five par 3s and three par 5s.
It features Bentgrass double greens and measures in at just 7,079 yards but the course on Tokyo Bay is far from a pushover.
Keegan Bradley won with 15-under last year while Hideki Matsuyama posted the same winning score in 2021 and was five shots clear of second place.
Both return for another crack this year, although it's Xander Schauffele - the winner of the gold medal in the 2021 Olympic Games in Tokyo - who heads the betting at just 15/28.50.
As well as shooting the same winning score, Bradley and Matsuyama had both played well at the course previously. Matsuyama had finished runner-up to Tiger Woods the last time the track had been used in 2019 while before lifting the silverware in 2022, Bradley had been seventh here 12 months earlier.
That brings to mind other Asian events where certain players have clicked again when returning. Think Justin Thomas and Ryan Moore and their back-to-back wins at the CIMB Classic in Malaysia (an event where Bradley and Matsuyama have both finished runner-up by the way).
So course form looks a good pointer this week and with that in mind I'm going to back Cameron Champ.
The American made his only start here last year and fired rounds of 69-67-64-69 to finish in a tie for eighth. What's really significant is that either side of that top 10 he missed six cuts, three before and three after.
What made the American find form out of the blue? Something specific about the course? Perhaps but a more rounded explanation came during his interview on day three.
Champ revealed: "I like it here, just the atmosphere, the culture. I've always played well in Japan, I'm not sure why, but I just enjoy being here. I played here a couple times as a junior and amateur. Yeah, I just enjoy it."
The junior/amateur results may take some digging out but we do know he came over for the Japan Tour's prestigious Dunlop Phoenix Tournament in 2019 and finished eighth, flying through the field after a slow start.
To hammer home the point about players thriving again at a happy place, Tiger Woods, Luke Donald and Brooks Koepka all won the Dunlop Phoenix in back-to-back years.
While last year he had no form when arriving in Japan, it's a very different story in 2023. Champ is in a great space mentally, talking about being in control of his ball, confident on the greens and feeling "free spirited". After falling out of love with golf for a little while, he's now relishing being out on the course.
It's shown in the last two weeks where he was ninth at the Sanderson Farms Championship and 18th in the Shriners in Las Vegas where he opened with a 63 and closed with a 65.
Champ is 127th in the FedEx Cup standings so needs a final push to get into the top 125. Hopefully he can make the leap in style.
Finally, he's just become a father for the first time, his baby boy now 12 weeks old. The Nappy Factor is a well-known angle in golf and Champ still not having his card secured plays perfectly into the theory's idea of (subconsciously) needing to buckle down and provide now that there's an extra mouth to feed.
Champ has been well backed and rightly so as he is, let's not forget, a three-time PGA Tour winner who knows how to get it done.
One thing to remember this week is that just 78 players will be teeing off at Narashino CC. Therefore, if Tom Hoge was worth a bet at 28s/33s in last week's full-field Shriners Children's Open, surely he's one to consider at not far off twice the odds here.
Hoge was a popular pick in Vegas due to some course form and also some tidy recent play which included 14th in last month's BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth and 13th in the Sanderson Farms Championship.
But his luck was out in America's gambling capital, two rounds of 71 condemning him to a first missed cut in a regular PGA Tour event since the first week of July.
However, playing poorly when the planets seem to have been aligned and expectations are high is a common theme in golf. Punters won't need reminding that it's also a regular occurence to see that same hyped player excel the week after.
I'm hoping that's the case with Hoge this week and, again, past course form in Japan is a key element.
Bradley won this event having posted seventh and 13th previously and Hoge has done similar groundwork with finishes of 17th in 2021 and ninth last year when he shot middle rounds of 66-65. Hoge shot seven lower than he did on debut in 2021 and finding a few more would surely put him in the places.
Like Champ, there's also the wider context of his rankings to consider. Hoge is 46th in the FedEx Cup standings but 51st in the OWGR so will want to nudge up into the top 50 to secure entry into every big event.
The putter went cold last week after lighting up in August so if he can get it going on the greens, this impressive ball striker (top five for Strokes Gained: Approach in two his last three events) can make a challenge.
Finally, I'll go with another player who has already shown a liking for Narashino. Beau Hossler has been one of the eyecatchers - among those who like a bet at least - over the last few months.
In terms of consistency, he's up there with the best thanks to a run of seven top 30s in his last eight starts.
In terms of landing the each-way money it's been slightly frustrating but he did post tied sixth in the Barracuda Championship. Last week he continued his strong play with tied seventh in Vegas.
Hossler opened with a 62 at the Shriners last Thursday and said later: "I felt like I did everything well. I imagine statistically I was probably gaining strokes in every department, which is obviously a good thing for my confidence moving forward.
"I think my game right now is as good as it's been in years, which is exciting."
As mentioned, he also enjoyed his last trip here when firing scores of 68-68-66-70 to finish tied 16th. He was 14th or better after each of his opening three rounds.
At the time, that was actually his best finish since May so, as with Champ, he should get some positive memories returning to place where his game picked up.
He hasn't played much in Asia but it's also encouraging that his one start at the CIMB Classic (2018) saw Hossler shoot middle rounds of 65-66 to sit 15th after 54 holes.
On current form, he's worth a play to bank one of the seven each-way payout slots and maybe even get that elusive first win.