Chiba Prefecture, Japan, September 21: Read what players have to say following the opening round of the Asia-Pacific Diamond Cup on Thursday.
Tadahiro Takayama (Jpn) – First Round 62 (-9)
I surprised myself with 10 birdies today. The last time I played this course was 17years ago at the PGA Championship in 2000. I only remembered the 18th hole so I am really surprised with how I played today.
I didn’t play in Hokkaido last week. I am glad I didn’t because it was too cold. I was watching television at home and trying to get some rest and treatment for my back. I am hitting the ball better today and I made a lot of good putts.
I have been struggling with my putting this year. After playing in the matchplay event earlier, I started to feel that I really need to make more putts. I have been working on it since.
This golf course is pretty tight. I was able to keep my ball in good position today. I had a lot of chances for birdies as well. I missed only three fairways on the fourth, 10th and 15th holes.
I will try and make as many birdies as I can again tomorrow. Hopefully I can exceed my expectations. If I hit onto the wrong side of the course, it might get very tough so I need to keep the ball on the fairways.
K.T. Kim (Kor) – First Round 64 (-7)
I started playing well at the Fuji Sankei Classicvbut I struggled with my putting. I couldn’t make any putts so I missed the cut last week in Korea. I gave myself so much chances but I just can’t make any birdie putts.
I was practicing yesterday and I found something with my putting. I brought a total of six putters from Korea this week. I was just trying to rediscover that feeling.
But I did not change putter today. I am still using the same putter. I was able to judge the distance better today.
Once I start making the putts, I was able to hit 100 yards shot with confidence. It is easy with less pressure. I am happy because I made a lot of putts today.
I won this event in 2015. I was supposed to defend my title last year but I couldn’t because I was playing in the United States. I decided to play this year. I like the way the golf course is set up for this week’s Diamond cup.
Pavit Tangkamolprasert (Tha) – First Round 65 (-6)
I have been struggling with my driver for the last six to seven months, especially when I play in Europe. My tee shots haven’t been good. I have been trying to fix it but the feeling is still not good so this week, I decided to take my driver out from my bag.
I hit my three-wood instead. I hit it strong and it turned out well today. My iron-play and short game have been pretty good all year so with good tee shots today, I was able to card a low score. In Europe and in Korea last week, my errant tee shots have cost me a lot of dropped shots so I hope I can stay consistent this week.
I kept the ball in play. I was able to hit the fairways and hit it close with my irons and wedges and making the putts. I got off to a great start which gave me some momentum and confidence heading into the round.
On hole seventh, I holed a 35-footer birdie putt from the front of the green. That gave me a lot of confidence. I struggled a bit on my last hole ninth after enduring a long wait for my playing partners who got into trouble with their tee shots.
It’s alright. I am still very happy with how I played today. This course is pretty short, not that long so you just need to keep the ball in play and avoid the roughs out there. I play a lot with Prayad (Marksaeng) and he gave me some tips during our practice round.
He’s still winning a lot at his age. I have a lot to learn from him. He told me it’s not necessary to hit it that long in Japan. You just have to hit it on the right side but in Europe, it’s different. You need to hit it long in Europe because the courses are much longer over there.
That’s why I have been struggling with my tee shots. But having said, it was still good experiences gained playing in different courses and conditions across Europe and Asia. I have a two-year exemption on the Asian Tour after winning in Macao last year.
I decided to take this opportunity to play in Europe and gain more experiences. I have two years of exemption so I can still come back to Asia and play next year.
Chikkarangappa S. (Ind) – First Round 67 (-4)
It was a good round. It’s good to be playing well again after a very long time. The season’s been quite a bit of up and downs for me so I have been looking for a good start. I managed to get off to a good start today.
I went back to my old way of putting and I managed to putt well today. I gained a lot of confidence from the way I putted today as well. Also with my driver, I made some changes to the shaft and it’s working very well now.
I am quite happy with my round. I was eagerly looking for something like this. I made a brilliant par on hole nine after sinking a 70 to 80 feet putt. That kind of spurred me on. I gained a lot of positives and confidence heading into the back nine.
I had a good putt for birdie on the 16th hole from 15 feet as well. I made a good birdie on the second hole after hitting my tee shot into a thick rough. Placement of ball is very important on this course. You need to think about where to place your shots and how to avoid the roughs.
I like something like this where every hole is different. It’s a unique golf course and I really like the layout here. I hope to continue my good form for tomorrow.