April 25: The Panasonic Open Golf Championship celebrated a worthy winner in Japan’s Yuta Ikeda over the weekend. But here are five other things which made the event a truly memorable one.
1The Panasonic Open Golf Championship delighted the local crowd in welcoming a home winner and also showed Yuta Ikeda’s prowess on home soil as that victory was his 14th title in Japan and first after he turned 30 in December last year.
2India’s Shiv Kapur returned to action for the first time since his marriage to Maya on April 3. It could have turned out to be another fairytale as he surged into the lead after the third round. However, Kapur’s title charge fizzled out on the final day and he had to settle for a share of fifth place.
3Vietnam’s Michael Tran became the first player from his country to ever play and make the cut in a professional tournament in Japan.
4Australia’s Marcus Fraser arrived in Japan without much expectations but left the Land of the Rising Sun a much happier person knowing that his tied-second finish had given him a comfortable cushion over his nearest rivals in the merit chase.
5Title sponsor Panasonic, which is also a worldwide Olympic partner, certainly played a major role in strengthening Philippines’ Miguel Tabuena’s bid to feature in the Olympics in August. Although it was not a commanding result which the Filipino had hoped for, playing at the Panasonic Open Golf Championship and making the weekend cut, helped consolidate his position on the Olympics rankings as one of the top-60 players poised to qualify for the sporting spectacle.