100/1101.00 Ryo Ishikawa was runner-up last week
50/151.00 Joel Dahmen has found a burst of form
50/151.00 Brandon Wu keeps shooting low scores
Weather forecast for Thursday
It's a sunny and mild morning at Narashino CC before cloudy conditions enter the scene after lunch. Temperatures are steady at around 70 degrees throughout the day while wind speeds are fairly consistent too at 10-12mph.
There's no obvious weather bias and with 78 players divided into three-balls going off the 1st and 10th, there's only just over two hours between the first and last tee-times anyway. Let's pick freely.
Last week, Ryo Ishikawa finished runner-up in his home Japan Open while Adam Scott fired a pair of 73s and missed the cut.
This week, Scott is 28/129.00 to be first-round leader while Ishikawa is 100/1101.00.
Okay, that's a simplistic take and, to be honest, Scott is being used as a stooge as he may well be in contention on Sunday.
But a three-figure price on Ishikawa is definitely worth a look.
There was a time over a decade ago when the now 32-year-old Ishikawa was being touted as a potential superstar. He finished 20th in the 2011 Masters and 30th at the following month's US Open.
It never worked out but last week's second place shows he can still play the game to a good level - especially on home soil.
Ishikawa was sixth after 18 holes of his home Open and has finished day one in the top seven in three of his last four Japan Tour events. Rewind to July and he was the first-round leader in the Japan PGA Championship.
A month earlier, and this shows that plenty of talent remains, he was also 25th after day one of the US Open at LA Country Club.
He's played the ZOZO at this course just once but in that 2019 edition he was seventh after an opening 68.
There's more than enough there to play him at the odds. Ishikawa starts out from the 10th at 09.07.
Joel Dahmen enjoyed a run of 16-3-9-5 in four events across October and November last year.
And the popular American appears to be flourishing in the Fall again after posting 13th at the Sanderson Farms and seventh in the Shriners Children's Open in the last fortnight.
That burst of form last year was started by a 16th in this very event when he opened with a 68 to lie 11th after round one. He was eighth after both 36 and 54 holes when adding laps of 67 and 66.
In truth, he hasn't had too many fast starts of late although that reflects a wider malaise before his form picked up earlier this month.
But back in 2019 he landed first-round honours three times in the space of six PGA Tour starts which is pretty remarkable.
Let's hope he can find some of that Thursday form from his 09.07 (1st tee) start.
A look at Brandon Wu's run of recent midfield finishes suggests he may be lacking a spark.
But rather than churning out a string of 70s or 71s, the young American is mixing low rounds and over-par rounds and that makes him of interest for a market where we only want one good 18.
Looking at his last four events, Wu has ended 57th, 58th, 37th and 62nd. But he's carded a 65 at some point in three of those tournaments and a 66 in the other.
The latest 65 came in round one of the Sanderson Farms on his most recent start and that put him second after Thursday's play.
The added bonus is that Wu played this event last year and sat 11th following day one. He was 17th after a Saturday 66 before finishing 29th.
The Stanford graduate, whose parents moved from Beijing to California in 1996, starts his bid at 08.56 from the 10th.