The Zozo Championship 2019: Form guide ahead of this week's tournament in Japan

The Zozo Championship 2019, at Narashino Country Club
Hideki Matsuyama plays a pitch shot during Monday's Skins Game at Narashino Country Club

The second of three straight weeks in the Far East takes the PGA Tour to the outskirts of Tokyo for the inaugural Zozo Championship. Stats and words by Andy Swales...

"Xander Schauffele makes a first start since the Porsche European Open in September, with the world No 8 another golfer who has enjoyed considerable success on his recent long-haul travels."

The PGA Tour breaks new ground this week with a first-ever tournament in Japan.

As with last week's event in Korea, The Zozo Championship will feature a reduced field of 78 players, many of whom have made the 790-mile trip from Jeju Island to compete.

This co-sanctioned tournament will run through to 2025, following a deal agreed 12 months ago between the tours of the United States and Japan.

Venue for this historic event is Narashino Country Club, located around 12 miles north-east of Tokyo city centre.

Opened in 1965, this week's venue will be a composite layout taken from holes on its Kings and Queens courses.

Narashino is a lush gently-rolling tree-lined course that is extremely well bunkered, with water on five holes.

Excellent Field

Eleven of the world's top 20 golfers are taking part, led by No 2 ranked Rory McIlroy and No 4 Justin Thomas, winner at Nine Bridges on Sunday.

No one has performed better than Thomas over the past three or four months, with the 26-year-old continuing to show how much he likes playing tournaments in Asia.

His victory at The CJ Cup was his fourth in the Far East, which means six of his 11 PGA Tour titles have happened far away from the American mainland - he's also won twice in Hawaii.

Check out latest betting ahead of this week's Zozo Championship

Xander Schauffele makes a first start since the Porsche European Open in September. The world No 8 has enjoyed considerable success on his recent long-haul travels.

Next week, Schauffele will defend his title at the HSBC Champions tournament in China, and he has also won in Hawaii which sits more than 2,400 miles from America's west coast.

The Californian, who turns 26 later this week, has won four times on the PGA Tour, with three of these victories being tournaments with limited-size fields and no 36-hole cut.

Tiger's Return

Another starter is Tiger Woods who tees-up for the first time in 10 weeks following arthroscopic surgery on his left knee during August.

This year's US Masters champion is hoping the procedure will have successfully repaired damage to his cartilage.

After taking part in a Skins Game on Monday, Woods confirmed that he was able to line-up his putts again, having previously had problems when stooping down.

Asian Challenge

Hideki Matsuyama, who was also part of the Skins Game at Narashino along with McIlroy and Jason Day, tied-third in Korea at the weekend.

Japan's leading golfer will be joined by a number of highly-rated Asian stars including his compatriots Ryo Ishikawa and Shugo Imahira.

Both have performed superbly on the Japan Tour during 2019, with Imahira currently second in the Order of Merit, three spots above Ishikawa.

Ishikawa, a former PGA Tour member, has won twice since early July while Imahira has posted nine consecutive top-20 finishes. The latter tees-up for a 10th straight week on home soil.

Two players who should feel acclimatised to conditions in Japan are Aussie Adam Scott and Shaun Norris of South Africa.

Scott tied-fifth at Sunday's Japan Open, while Norris was a joint runner-up in the same event.

The 39-year-old Scott finished last season in style by posting top-10s in all three FedEx Cup Play-Off events on the PGA Tour.

Norris, meanwhile, has been busy recently with a victory and a brace of runner-up finishes in Japan over the past six weeks.

And in his first event since mid-August, American Jordan Spieth tied-for-eighth in Korea at the weekend.

Twitter: Andy Swales@GolfStatsAlive

Table Shows Performances For Last 10 Weeks

MC* - Missed Additional 54-Hole Cut

Note: List Contains Leading Reserves

Position

  • 1–5
  • 6–15
  • 16–25
Player W42 W41 W40 W39 W38 W37 W36 W35 W34 W33
Rory McIlroy 26 9 2 1 19
Justin Thomas 1 4 9 1
Tiger Woods 37
Xander Schauffele 46 2 19
Tony Finau 9 10 51 7 4
Paul Casey MC 11 1 3 24
Tommy Fleetwood 20 5 60 8 13 11
Patrick Reed 4 15 36 15 19
Adam Scott 5 42 17 5 9
Shane Lowry MC 15 11 48
Gary Woodland 3 55 15 31
Kevin Na 20 1 MC 14
Louis Oosthuizen 15 11
Marc Leishman 43 3 Wd 20 19
Matthew Fitzpatrick 2 26 46 69 2
Jason Day 31 52
Danny Willett 46 18 26 1 MC
Kevin Kisner 9 9
Hideki Matsuyama 3 16 MC 12 3
Chez Reavie 46 MC 33 5 57
Bubba Watson MC 47
Sergio Garcia 60 7 1 23
Billy Horschel 64 4 37
Rafa Cabrera-Bello 26 2 MC 6 63
Jordan Spieth 8 37
Ian Poulter 16 MC 60 31
Abraham Ancer 57 MC MC 26 28
Adam Hadwin 4 2 43
Sung Jae Im 39 1 49 2 19 15 11
Keegan Bradley MC 70 24 43
Andrew Putnam 20 18 21 43
Byeong Hun An 6 MC MC 3 47 28
Tyrrell Hatton 6 18 15 MC
Cameron Smith 3 13 MC 24
Shugo Imahira 12 1 7 2 6 9 6 13 19
Joaquin Niemann 12 MC 54 1 31
CT Pan 56 MC MC 31
Jazz Janewattananond 65 4 4 32 57 6 36 6
Charles Howell 20 68 4 23 37
Jason Kokrak 63 MC 9 19
Lucas Glover 39 9 MC MC 29 7
JT Poston MC 11 16
Corey Conners 12 13 MC 23 7
Rory Sabbatini 31 10 MC 46 63 16
Collin Morikawa 36 42 10 48
Si Woo Kim 26 55 49 61 28
Sung Kang 26 29 MC 4 47 63
Emiliano Grillo 26 MC MC 39 31
Scott Piercy 75 MC 67 19 37
Kiradech Aphibarnrat 8 MC MC 51
Keith Mitchell 46 MC 52
Ryan Moore 8 13 MC 37
Ryan Palmer 12 37 43
Nate Lashley 20 62 MC 3 69
Viktor Hovland 31 11 10 2 11
Joel Dahmen 43 9 MC 36 24
Dylan Frittelli 43 MC 7 6 52
Branden Grace 46 MC MC 60 MC
Kevin Tway 46 29 MC 11
Rikuya Hoshino 10 78 23 23 5 47 40 2 33
Kevin Streelman 12 MC MC 4 MC
Ryo Ishikawa 12 26 47 3 6 5 13 1
Sanghyun Park 60 51 12 45 52 1 MC 9
Graeme McDowell 16 15 MC 57
Harold Varner 26 48 17 19 68
Matthew Wolff 74 18
Shaun Norris 2 26 1 10 9 2 MC 55 MC
Max Homa 65 MC 62 61
Pat Perez 31 3 MC
Troy Merritt 57 63 MC 48 46 35 43
Vaughn Taylor 60 60 MC 16
Brian Stuard 72 4 17 28 MC
Charley Hoffman 36 74 MC 23
Adam Long 46 23 23 14 65
Chesson Hadley 63 18 23 MC
Jhonattan Vegas 16 MC MC 56
Daniel Berger MC 18 23 39
Chan Kim 1 26 19 MC 2 26 4 MC 3
Danny Lee 2 71 MC 36
Wyndham Clark 8 MC MC MC 31
Satoshi Kodaira 23 MC MC 19 24
Yosuke Asaji MC 21 MC 44 18 1 MC 13 62
Mikumu Horikawa 2 41 10 MC 18 38 28 MC 6 MC
Adam Schenk 46 18 MC 36 MC
Tomoharu Otsuki 40 2 7 50 32 MC 21 MC 10 24
Seung Su Han MC 2 26 39 2 8 MC 19
Jinichiro Kozuma 18 26 23 37 15 10 42 19

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