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Matsuyama, Schauffele headline as PGA Tour golf returns to Asia

Matsuyama, Schauffele headline as PGA Tour golf returns to Asia

The US PGA Tour returns to Asia for the first time since the coronavirus pandemic when Japan hosts the Zozo Championship this week, with home hero Hideki Matsuyama and Olympic gold medallist Xander Schauffele headlining a strong field.

Two-time major winner Collin Morikawa will also be in action at the $9.95 million event at Accordia Golf Narashino Country Club in Chiba, east of Tokyo, from Thursday.

Other big names in the 78-man field include Tommy Fleetwood and Rickie Fowler, with 5,000 spectators allowed to watch each day as long as they wear masks at all times.

Masters champion Matsuyama will be the focus of intense home interest, while for the American Schauffele — whose family has ties to Japan — it will be a return to the country where he won Olympic gold in August.

The 24-year-old Morikawa, the highest-ranked player in the field at number three in the world, will also be popular because he is half-Japanese.

He was tied 22nd at the Zozo Championship in 2019, the year he turned pro, but plenty has happened since then, including major victories at the British Open and PGA Championship.

“Playing there (Zozo) in 2019, I was able to start my professional career and since then,…

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