WGC-Bridgestone Invitational: Top five sleepers in the Firestone CC field

(Photo by Tony Marshall/Getty Images)
(Photo by Tony Marshall/Getty Images) /
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Hideto Tanihara of Japan. (Photo by Stuart Franklin/Getty Images) /

Long one of the top players in Japan, 38-year-old Hideto Tanihara has dipped his toes more in the international game in 2017. It’s paying dividends.

Tanihara ascended to as high as 47th in the world and enters this week just outside the coveted top 50 at No. 52. Eleven of his 14 starts have been on the PGA Tour or European Tour.

While this week will be his first start at the WGC-Bridgestone, he showed well at another WGC. Tanihara beat Jordan Spieth in group play on the way to the semifinals at the WGC-Match Play. He also tied for 32nd in Mexico.

In other strong fields, Tanihara got in the mix at the BMW PGA Championship (T3) and at the Irish Open (T10).

Tanihara cites his putter as the best club in his bag. If he can keep it in the fairway and get some yardage off the roll, his lack of length can be overcome by giving himself a lot of looks on the tough, but tamable Firestone greens.