Unstoppable Takayama extends lead #DiamondCup

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Tadahiro Takayama of Japan

Tadahiro Takayama of Japan

Chiba Prefecture, Japan, September 22: Japan’s Tadahiro Takayama continued to take his place atop the leaderboard after signing for a solid five-under-par 66, extending his overnight lead to six shots at the halfway stage of the Asia-Pacific Diamond Cup on Friday.

Takayama, who started the round with a two-shot advantage following an opening 62, proved unstoppable when he fired five birdies against no drop shots to lead on 14-under-par 128 total at the Caledonian Golf Club.

Thailand’s Poom Saksansin continued his fine form by matching the day’s efforts of Takayama to sit in second place alongside South African Jbe Kruger (68) and Shugo Imahira (67) of Japan at the ¥‎150 million (approximately US$1.37 million) event.

Chinese Taipei’s Hung Chien-yao (67), Younghan Song (70) of Korea and Pavit Tangkamolprasert (71) of Thailand were amongst those bunched in fifth place on 136 at the event co-sanctioned by the Asian Tour and the Japan Golf Tour Organisation (JGTO).

A total of 63 players, including a local amateur, made the halfway cut set at even-par 142 at the Asia-Pacific Diamond Cup.

Poom Saksansin of Thailand

Poom Saksansin of Thailand

Did you know?

  • Takayama’s six-shot advantage heading into the weekend rounds is the largest 36-hole lead on the Asian Tour so far this season.
  • Takayama’s two-day total of 14-under-par 128 is also the lowest 36-hole score so far this season.
  • Takayama is a five-time winner on the Japan Golf Tour Organisation (JGTO). His fifth and last victory came at the 2011 Casio World Open in Japan.
  • Takayama was a former baseball player in his high school.
  • Takayama amassed a total of 15 birdies and dropped only one shot in 36 holes at the Asia-Pacific Diamond Cup. He needed only 28 putts in his second round of 66.
  • Poom, along with his cherubic look, catapulted into the spotlight when he won his second Asian Tour title at the TAKE Solutions Masters in India last month.
  • Poom injured his back last year and was advised by his doctor to lose weight in order to avoid getting injured again. He has lost about 10 kilograms since.
  • Poom’s breakthrough came at the 2016 Indonesian Masters last October. He is also a one-time winner on the Asian Development Tour (ADT) in 2015.
  • The 24-year-old Poom sits in 16th place on the current Asian Tour Order of Merit, thanks to one victory and one top-five result in Chinese Taipei.
  • Kruger is a one-time winner on the Asian Tour but not since 2012. He sits in 28th on the current money list thanks to two top-10 results, including a tied-second place finish at the season-opener in Singapore, this season.

“I tried to concentrate on every shot and every hole. The pin positions were hard today but I like the challenge out there.” – Tadahiro Takayama, 39

Players’ quotes:

Tadahiro Takayama (Jpn) – Second Round 66 (-5), Total 128 (-14)

I had some good shots today but overall it was not as good as how I played yesterday. I missed a couple of fairways but I made good putts to save pars.

I hit it to the right rough on the first. It was really deep. I only able to hit short of the green which landed in bunker about 40 yards from front of green. Then I hit to about 2.5 metres and made that slice line. It was a good up-and-down there.

I tried to concentrate on every shot and every hole. The pin positions were hard today but I like the challenge out there. I enjoyed myself. I told myself not to think about my opening round 62.

I told myself it’s a brand-new day today and I should start anew. I am happy with how I played today.

I still have two more days to go. I have to keep my concentration tight. I think pin position will get harder, so tomorrow it will be another new challenge. Anything can happen still.

I don’t want to think about winning yet. I am just going to think about how to fight for better scores tomorrow. We will see how it goes.

Poom Saksansin (Tha) – Second Round 66 (-5), Total 134 (-8)

I putted really good today. I made two long putts on hole 18 and hole two today. I sank the putt from about 10 yards on the second hole and the birdie putt on 18 was from slightly more than 10 yards. I eagled the 18 yesterday so I was feeling good about that hole.

I was just thinking about making the cut out there. The condition is really nice. I like the layout although it’s tricky. The greens are sloppy so you have to keep the ball in play and put the ball in the right positions. You need to keep hitting the fairways as well.

I am not thinking much about the results. I want to play shot by shot and just focus on hitting as manay fairways as I can. The game’s been pretty good. I just struggle with my confidence sometimes. I think that’s my problem right now.

It’s been really nice here in Japan. I always like coming to Japan. I love the food here. I love eating sushi, sukiyaki and yakiniku. I enjoy playing in Japan.

Jbe Kruger of South Africa

Jbe Kruger of South Africa

Jbe Kruger (Rsa) – Second Round 68 (-4), Total 134 (-8)

I had a lot of mixed emotions out there today. I didn’t actually play that well today but I putted better than I played. I still made a lot of mistakes out there.

I think all the seven birdies I made today are good. It’s not easy to make birdies on this course. I felt like I’m hitting the ball well at some stages and I’m not hitting the ball well at some stages.

There is a lot of work to be done over the weekend. The birdie on 17 would be the highlight for me as it came after my bogey on 16, which is a short and easy hole. I birdied the 15th hole earlier after sinking a 60-footer.

I hit a six-iron on 17 to about 10 feet and made the putt for birdie there. I am happy with how I scored these two days, although I didn’t really play that well. I have putted well. You can always compete when you putt well. I will try and hit it better tomorrow and make as many putts as I can again.

Scores after round 2 of the Asia-Pacific Open Golf Championship Diamond Cup being played at the par 71, 7100 Yards Caledonian GC course (am – denotes amateur):

128 – Tadahiro TAKAYAMA (JPN) 62-66.

134 – Poom SAKSANSIN (THA) 68-66, Jbe KRUGER (RSA) 66-68, Shugo IMAHIRA (JPN) 67-67.

136 – Toru NAKAJIMA (JPN) 70-66, HUNG Chien-yao (TPE) 69-67, Daisuke KATAOKA (JPN) 67-69, Younghan SONG (KOR) 66-70, Yujiro OHORI (JPN) 69-67, Pavit TANGKAMOLPRASERT (THA) 65-71.

137 – Matthew GRIFFIN (AUS) 69-68, Yuki INAMORI (JPN) 71-66, Yoshinori FUJIMOTO (JPN) 68-69, Rahil GANGJEE (IND) 70-67.

138 – Sungjae IM (KOR) 69-69, Ryutaro NAGANO (JPN) 71-67, Juvic PAGUNSAN (PHI) 68-70, Angelo QUE (PHI) 72-66, Tatsuya KODAI (JPN) 70-68, Koichi KITAMURA (JPN) 71-67, Keita NAKAJIMA (am, JPN) 67-71, Adilson DA SILVA (BRA) 68-70, I.J. JANG (KOR) 69-69, Ryuji MASAOKA (JPN) 65-73.

139 – Ben LEONG (MAS) 69-70, Yosuke ASAJI (JPN) 67-72, Shaun NORRIS (RSA) 69-70, Lucas HERBERT (AUS) 68-71, K.T. KIM (KOR) 64-75, Sam CHIEN (USA) 68-71.

140 – Thanyakon KHRONGPHA (THA) 67-73, Chikkarangappa S. (IND) 67-73, Scott VINCENT (ZIM) 73-67, Natipong SRITHONG (THA) 69-71, Johannes VEERMAN (USA) 71-69, Ryuko TOKIMATSU (JPN) 70-70, S.S.P. CHAWRASIA (IND) 71-69, Yusaku MIYAZATO (JPN) 72-68, Keiichiro FUKABORI (JPN) 69-71.

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