The 2017 Japan Tour schedule began with two co-sanctioned events in Singapore and Myanmar earlier in the year but this event, at the Token Tado Country Club, sees the local season begin and, as is so often the case in recent years, there are several Australians (and New Zealanders) in action.
Brad Kennedy, Kiwi Michael Hendry, Brendan Jones, Matthew Griffin, Adam Bland, Kurt Barnes, Won Joon Lee, Japan Tour rookie David Bransdon and Myanmar Open winner Todd Sinnott are all scheduled to tee it up on Thursday.
Sinnott now has full Japan Tour status to go with his Asian Tour card following his win in Myanmar and the progress of the long-hitting and talented Victorian will be watched with interest.
Australasians have often achieved success in this event, perhaps because they have typically been playing competitively more recently than many of the Japanese players in the field.
Craig Warren, Andre Stolz, Wayne Perske, Brendan Jones and Michael Hendry are Australasians to have won the Token Homemate Cup and, with his recent win at the ISPS Handa New Zealand Open, and continued good form in lesser events in New Zealand, Hendry will start as one of the favourites this week.
With several of the Japan Tour stars such as Hideto Tanihara and Yuta Ikeda having played last week’s Masters, they will likely not appear until next week’s Panasonic Open in Chiba.
Defending champion and leading world-ranked player in the field, South Korean K.T Kim, will start the event as favourite.