Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Wednesday Preview - Casio World Open

Happy Thanksgiving everybody! The PGA, LPGA, and European Tours are all done for the season. The big stars head down under for the Australian Open, as Rory McIlroy and Adam Scott will be among the players in Sydney. On the Japan Tour, however, there is an exciting race for the Order Of Merit, and with two weeks left in the season, Japan's next superstar is still waiting to be born.

Course: Kochi Kuroshio Country Club. I am having a tough time finding out the exact length of this course or how difficult it is, but the pictures of the course and the resort it sits on look absolutely stunning. They moved this event to Kochi Kuroshio in 2005, and scores have ranged between -11 and -21. Expect middle teens under par again this week.

Strength Of Field: N/A. Unlike last week, this is strictly a Japan Tour event, with no outside golfers. For that reason, I have decided not to give this event a field strength. If you're looking for the big name players, however, head to Sydney.

Extra Tidbits: The final two weeks of this season is huge for many players in the field. The top 50 in the world ranking on December 31th gets an invitation to The Masters. Also, the top 2 money winners after next week's event get an invite into the Open Championship...The defending champion would be Hideki Matsuyama, who won last week; however, Hideki is not in the final field for some unknown reason...the top ranked player in the field is Koumei Oda at 54th in the world. Hiroshi Iwata is right behind him at 63...Ryo Ishikawa tees it up this week for his forth straight Japan Tour start, Last week's T31 was his best finish in that stretch...Sung-Joon Park, rookie on the PGA Tour this season, will be playing this week, as will former PGA Tour winner Ryuji Imada...former winners of this event include Bernhard Langer, Lee Trevino, and Sandy Lyle.

Fantasy Four:

Hiroshi Iwata - Final round 63 put Iwata in the playoff last week and gave him his 12th top 10 of the season. Currently sitting at 63rd in the world and 4th on the Order of Merit, so he needs a couple of big weeks to get some invites into some big tournaments. Should be well motivated.

Koumei Oda - Two time winner of this event and the leader in the Order of Merit. A win could secure an invite to the Masters. Two wins this season, and has been incredibly close to two others. Missed a top 10 last week by one shot.

Shingo Katayama - Five top 10's to balance out only one missed cut in 2014 shows a resurgence for the iconic Katayama. Finished T9 last week, but could have been much better had it not been for a third round 73. This week will be a test to see if he can string together two good weeks.

Ryo Ishikawa - At some point, something has to click with him. Played better in his two events on the US Tour this season than he had on the Japan Tour since. Perhaps fatigue is getting to him, but he is too good to not find a way to play well in a limited field towards the end of the season.

Last Weeks Team:
Jordan Speith: T3
Hideki Matsuyama: WINNER
Hideto Tanihara: T31
Hiroshi Iwata: 2nd

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