American Chan Kim will be looking to fight off tiredness as he seeks to defend his title at the Dunlop Phoenix Tournament which begins Thursday at the Phoenix Country Club in Miyazaki.
The 32-year-old has contested six tournaments in as many weeks, including a trip back home to play in the final stage of the Korn Ferry Tour (KFT) Qualifying School a fortnight ago.
Kim finished no lower than a sixth-placing in all his last five JGTO starts, highlighted by a joint runner-up at the Heiwa PGM Championship three weeks ago.
He brought that momentum into the KFT Q-School and passed with flying colours, finishing second in the 146-man contest with a 13-under total and one stroke behind American Bo Hoag who took the medalist honour.
The outstanding feat earned Kim a guaranteed entry into the first 12 events of the 2023 KFT season.
Kim's game is certainly shaping up nicely for this week as he still managed to finish tied for sixth even without being in his best conditions last week at the Mitsui Sumitomo Visa Taiheiyo Masters.
"I flew back to Japan (from US) just in time. I was both tired and sleepy (last week), so I just treated the tournament like practice rounds and it went well!" said Kim, who's currently placed 20th on the JGTO money rankings.
Chan Kim will have plenty of motivation to do well this week as he hopes to follow in the footsteps of international players such as legend Tiger Woods (2004 and 2005) and Brooks Koepka (2016 and 2017) of the United States and England's Luke Donald (2012 and 2013) to win it back-to-back.
The tournament is a hugely popular event among top international players and this year's edition will see the return of spectators, as well as several PGA Tour stars for the first time after the pandemic.
Those who are spicing up this week's battle include South Korea's star Tom Kim, already a two-time PGA Tour winner at 20, Mito Pereira of Chile, Corey Conners of Canada and American Aaron Wise.
"I'm really excited, the fans are back and so are the PGA Tour players. I hope to put up a good show," he said.
South Africa's Scott Vincent, who's the only international winner thus far this season having won the Mizuno Open in May, is also in the 84-man field this week.
Kazuki Higa will spearhead the strong local challenge that feature all the current top 10 JGTO money leaders including Rikuya Hoshino, Mikumu Horikawa, Yuto Katsuragawa and Hiroshi Iwata.
Higa will aim to stave off fierce pursuit by Hoshino and Horikawa, both who still stand a chance to unseat the former at the top of the season-long rankings with three left to play.