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Back in Japan

Hideki walking the grounds of Narashino Country Club

It’s a relatively quiet week on the circuit after two weeks in Las Vegas as the TOUR is in Japan with Round 1 now complete. Hiroshi Iwata, leads the field by one stroke over reigning reigning Masters Champion and fellow countryman Hideki Matsuyama, as well as Joaquin Niemann. It’s always amazing when the tour travels outside the USA and players from the host country are atop the leaderboard – it’s great for growing the game of golf.

Xander Schauffele makes his return to Japan after winning the Olympic Gold Medal for the USA just a few months ago at Kasumigaseki Country Club. He shot an opening round 70 and is 6 shots back from the lead. Rickie Fowler is also in the field this week on a sponsor’s exemption for the second straight year. Rickie is trying to find his way back to the winner’s circle, where he hasn’t been since his last win in Phoenix at the 2019 Waste Management Open. Rickie led Rory by two strokes going into the final round of the CJ Cup last weekend, but couldn’t keep the pedal on the gas enough to pull through and capture the win. Nonetheless he’s back to playing better golf and we look for him to put together a complete 72 holes this season. Rickie also surpassed the $40 million mark in career winnings with his second place finish in Vegas, so even if he’s not winning at least we know he’s eating good.

Here’s a snapshot of the odds for the rest of the tournament, provided by Draftkings Sportsbook:

Hideki Matsuyama +275

Joaquin Niemann +400

Tommy Fleetwood +1400

Matt Wallace +1400

Xander Schauffele +1800

Jhonattan Vegas +2000

Cameron Tringale +2000

Brendan Steele +2500

Hiroshi Iwata +2800

Collin Morikawa +2800

Will Zalatoris +3000