International stars to watch in 2023

International stars to watch in 2023

Following a four-month break, the Japan Golf Tour is set to return for the 2023 season next week with the season-opening Token Homemate Cup, which will be held at Token Tado Country Club Nagoya in Mie.

Expect continued fireworks as a host of JGTO's international members renew their rivalry with the local stars over the next eight months.

After a rather quiet season where Zimbabwe's Scott Vincent and American Chan Kim emerged as the only two non-Japanese winners, the international contingent will surely be more determined to mount a stronger challenge this time around.

Below is the list of players expected to sparkle this season:


Nationality: United States

Age: 32

Career Wins: 8

2022 best result: Casio World Open - Winner

2022 money list position: 7 (15 appearances)

OWGR: 192

It's safe to say that Kim is the best-performing international player on Tour over the last two seasons.

Despite his Korn Ferry Tour commitment, Kim, the 2021/22 money list winner still managed to end last season commendably by coming in seventh overall with just a handful of 15 starts.

He captured the Casio World Open in style for his eighth Tour title, beating second-placed Aguri Iwasaki by six strokes.

With also six top-six finishes in his last seven appearances, including runner-ups at the Heiwa PGM Championship and season-ending Golf Nippon Series JT Cup, Kim will be aiming to pick up where he left off upon returning to Japan for his eighth full season on Tour.


Nationality: Zimbabwe

Age: 30

Career Wins: 3

2022 best result: Gateway to The Open Mizuno Open - Winner

2022 money list position: 27 (eight appearances)

OWGR: 121

Following his breakthrough 2020/21 season where he clinched his first two Tour titles at the KBC Sansan Augusta and ANA Open, Vincent did not make as many trips to Japan last year due to his commitment to multiple circuits.

Still, whenever he was back in action, Vincent would ensure his presence was felt. Out of the seven Tour tournaments he played, he finished no worse than 18th on six occasions.

Vincent's highlight last season was winning the Gateway to The Open Mizuno Open after edging Australia's Anthony Quayle in the playoff.

The feat also helped him punch his ticket to The Open for the first time.


Nationality: South Africa

Age: 40

Career Wins: 6

2022 best result: Token Homemate Cup - Tied ninth

2022 money list position: 88 (nine appearances)

OWGR: 174

Just like Vincent, Norris was another outstanding performer in the 2020/21 season but made fewer starts on Tour last year.

Still, he proved his worth by notching two top-10 finishes at the Token Homemate Cup and ISPS HANDA Championship.

It wasn't too long since Norris clinched his landmark victory at the Japan Open for one of his two titles in 2021, so expect Norris to reignite his ambition and hunt for more when he comes back this season.


Nationality: Australia

Age: 48

Career Wins: 3

2022 best result: ASO IIZUKA Challenged Golf Tournament - Tied second

2022 money list position: 16 (20 appearances)

OWGR: 163

A JGTO loyalist and of the most consistent players on Tour, Kennedy showed that he still has plenty of gas left in his tank by contending strongly on several occasions last year.

Missing only one cut in the entire season, Kennedy also impressed with five top-five results, with the best performance being tying for second at the ASO IIZUKA Challenge Golf Tournament.

If Kennedy keeps performing the way he did last year, it's only a matter of time before returns to the winning trail after last triumphed at the Shigeo Nagashima Invitational Sega Sammy Cup in 2018.


Nationality: Australia

Age: 28

Career Wins: Nil

2022 best result: Gateway to The Open Mizuno Open - Second

2002 money list position: 19 (17 appearances)

OWGR: 275

Quayle enjoyed his best season yet on Tour last year and he will be eager to build on it.

He agonisingly missed out on his breakthrough victory at the Gateway to The Open Mizuno Open, squandering his four-shot penultimate stage lead before being pipped by Scott Vincent to the win through playoff.

However, Quayle made the most of his ticket to The Open by finishing a creditable tied-15th.