Not a regular stop on the tour for most of these players, Japan is home to some of the most beautiful courses in the world.
Typically, they are twisting, undulating tree-lined courses that leave little margin for error off the tee, and Kasumigaseki is certainly no exception to that.
It’s a course that very few players will be familiar with as the last tour event held here was the 2006 Japan Open, though Hideki Matsuyama won as an amateur here in 2010 and if he were in better form in the run up to this, there’s little doubt he’d go in as favourite.
The course has been altered since then, and in 2016 the greens were changed from double to single greens and fairway bunkers were tactically placed to disrupt players off the tee, so this is very much an unknown quantity for all.
Cameron Smith 20/1
The 2016 Olympics certainly saw the cream rise to the top in the same way the majors do, which leaves that top 50 bracket of players the key area to be looking at, and Cameron Smith is one that certainly stands out.
He made his name in the east hailing from Australia, with nine top-15 finishes in his last 10 events in Australia, top 10 finishes in his three CJ Cup appearances in South Korea and another in his most recent trip to these shores.
More importantly, he relishes representing his country as he proved with Marc Leishman in finishing runners-up the 2018 World Cup, while they also came up trumps in the Zurich Classic this year as a pair.
While they won’t be side by side this time around, being together in the Australian camp can only be a benefit to both and if Smith’s new haircut is anything to go by, he’ll be determined to bring home a medal for his country and is worth getting behind.
Sung-Jae Im 25/1
Another who takes our fancy is Sung-Jae Im. The South Korean has top-25 finishes in six of his last seven events in Japan, including three top-5s with a third at his most recent Japanese tour event at the Zozo Championship.
His form has been questionable this year and although he’s put in some strong performances when the course suits (top-eight finishes at the Honda Classic and Rocket Mortgage) he’s still left a lot to be desired.
However, much of that can be put down to a lack of rest as he’s not had more than a single week off since the beginning of February, and with his last event being the John Deere at the beginning of this month, he’s had adequate time to rest and approach this event.
This course is almost tailored to him and although it’s not on his favoured Bermuda grass (greens are bent and the rest is Zoysia, his accuracy off the tee and with the irons should serve him well here.
On his day he’s one of the most dialled-in long game players around and finding the fairways with regularity should go a very long way here, so we’ll back him to find some form after a small break and come out swinging.
Abraham Ancer 20/1
The final pick goes the way of Mexico, and this could be just the right platform for Abraham Ancer to thrive. Despite not winning on the PGA Tour, his global game has been impressive, and he looks to be edging closer and closer to victory.
He’s finished 26th or better in 10 of his last 11 PGA tour events, with the exception coming at the US Open in a much stronger field than this.
That run also has top-five finishes in half of the most recent six of those and he’ll be determined to turn those strong performances into some titles.
He has pedigree when representing his country too, finishing tied with Cam Smith and Marc Leishman for second at the World Cup in 2018, with only three of the 56 players being lower ranked than his partner that weekend, Roberto Diaz, highlighting just how strong Ancer was there.
He should be another that has the right type of game for this course, being able to move it both ways and dial in his irons, so he’s certainly worth a punt.