2022 ZOZO CHAMPIONSHIP: Top 10 Power Rankings at Narashino CC

ZOZO CHAMPIONSHIP, Narashino Country Club,(Photo by Atsushi Tomura/Getty Images)
ZOZO CHAMPIONSHIP, Narashino Country Club,(Photo by Atsushi Tomura/Getty Images) /
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ZOZO CHAMPIONSHIP, Accordia Golf, Narashino Country Club, PGA Tour, Hideki Matsuyama, Tom Kim
Viktor Hovland, Tour Championship, Mandatory Credit: Adam Hagy-USA TODAY Sports /

Viktor Hovland’s won three events in the last 11 months, yet it still doesn’t seem like we’re quite seeing his best.

The last win was back in January in Dubai on the DP World Tour. It came against a solid field featuring Rory McIlroy in contention. The others were a repeat win at the PGA Tour’s World Wide Technology Championship at Mayakoba (bookmark that fact for next month) and an unofficial PGA Tour win at the Hero World Challenge.

Norway’s top golfer is due for another victory and the ZOZO CHAMPIONSHIP is a solid spot for it.

He comes to Japan on a streak of two made cuts in a row on the DP World Tour and two more prior on the PGA Tour. Hovland contended in a rain-shortened BMW PGA Championship, finishing three back in the 54-hole event in a tie for fifth place.

Despite a quiet season, the former Oklahoma State Cowboy advanced to the Tour Championship in the FedEx Cup Playoffs for the third straight year.

He feels as if he’s pinpointed where he can improve to try to get back to 2020 and 2021 levels.

“I feel the short irons are fine,” Hovland said in a Eurosport Norway article. “But I am not as precise with the driver and the longer irons as I have been before. It hasn’t been quite where I want it to be, but I feel I’m on to something now.”

He’s dug in the archives with coach Jeff Smith to look at old footage of his swing to recapture some magic.

Despite Hovland’s claims, his stats with long irons appeared solid last season. The 25-year-old led the PGA Tour in proximity from 200-225 yards (33’2”) and was 14th from 200-plus (46’2”).

He was also seventh in birdies per round (4.37), something you like to see in no-cut events.

Hovland is making his second appearance at Narashino. He shrugged off an opening 75 to climb the leaderboard up to T-41st after 65-67-72. He was T-13th in driving accuracy (61.54%) and 18th in scrambling (68%).