Kataoka savours breakthrough victory #DiamondCup

Final results and earningsOrder of Merit

Daisuke Kataoka of Japan

Daisuke Kataoka of Japan

Chiba Prefecture, Japan, September 24: Japan’s Daisuke Kataoka birdied three of his last five holes for a closing one-under-par 70 to win his first Asian Tour title by two shots at the Asia-Pacific Diamond Cup on Sunday.

Kataoka, who started the round one shot back, held his nerve to defeat his playing partners and overnight leaders Poom Sakansin of Thailand and countryman Tadahiro Takayama with a winning total of 12-under-par 272 at the Caledonian Golf Club.

Poom moved four clear after sinking two birdies in his opening eight holes but a costly triple-bogey seven on the ninth saw his lead reduced to one. The 24-year-old Thai slipped further with bogeys on 12 and 15 but he gained a shot back on 17 to sign for an eventual 73.

Poom settled for a share of second place with Takayama, who also returned with a 73 after marking his card with three birdies against five bogeys, at the ¥‎150 million (approximately US$1.37 million) event.

Korean duo K.T. Kim, Younghan Song and Japan’s Shugo Imahira shared fourth place on 275 following respective rounds of 66, 68 and 70 at the event co-sanctioned by the Asian Tour and the Japan Golf Tour Organisation (JGTO).

DSC_2096Did you know?

  • Kataoka emerged triumphant at the Asia-Pacific Diamond Cup after finishing tied-seventh in the event for the last two consecutive years.
  • Kataoka failed to retain his Asian Tour card for this season after finishing in 67th place on the 2016 Order of Merit. He now earned a two-year exemption on the Asian Tour thanks to this victory.
  • Kataoka won the Asia-Pacific Diamond Cup for his breakthrough Asian Tour title and a third victory on his home Tour.
  • Prior to this win, Kataoka has won the Kansai Open Golf Championship in 2015 and the Top Cup Tokai Classic in 2016 on his domestic circuit.
  • Kataoka has been plying his trade on the Asian Tour since coming through the Qualifying School in 2011. He is a dual member on both the Asian Tour and the JGTO.
  • Kataoka propelled into fifth place on the Order of Merit after taking home the winner’s prize purse of US$269,101 following his victory.
  • Kataoka is currently in the running to qualify for the CIMB Classic from October 12 to 15 as the leading 10 players on the money list as of October 9 will qualify for the lucrative event. The Japanese, however, will need to play one more full-field Asian Tour event before the cut-off date to qualify.
  • Poom is also in the running to qualify for the CIMB Classic following his joint runner-up finish at the Asia-Pacific Diamond Cup. He moved from 16th to seventh place on the Merit rankings.
  • Poom claimed his second Asian Tour victory at the TAKE Solutions Masters in India last month. He notched another top-five result in Chinese Taipei earlier in April.
  • Poom’s breakthrough victory on the Asian Tour came at the Indonesian Masters last October. He also a one-time winner on the Asian Development Tour (ADT) in 2015.

Players’ quotes:

DSC_2411Daisuke Kataoka (Jpn) – Final Round 70 (-2), Total 272 (-12)

I wanted to make a good birdie on the last for a good fist pose but ended up making a good par with the pose. I have been struggling with my game. I wasn’t making scores so I was frustrated. I reviewed my swing with my coach on Tuesday.

It was back to basic for me. I was not sure even until the last moment if I can stick to my basics.

I had some bad shots and some good shots. I was just able to take advantage of the few chances I had today.

I didn’t think I had a chance to win today until Poom made the triple bogey on the ninth hole. The chances came for all of us. It’s easy to make bogey out there if you hit it to the wrong positions, even on the fairways.

I had a training camp here after I turned professional, when I was 21 to 25 years old. Those years, I had at least one month of training here every year so I am familiar with the greens. I knew where to hit it to according to the pin positions. That was my advantage this week.

I hit it 120 yards to the pin and made birdie on 14 and then I tried not to bogey 15. I made a good putt to save par from about three metres. I played really well on the last five holes.

I don’t hit it long so I practice that kind of shot like my tee shot on 17. That helped me today.

I am happy to get exemptions on both the Asian Tour and the JGTO with this win. I was thinking about trying for European Tour Qualifying School actually but to do that, I have to skip three to four events on the local Tour. It’s my home tour so it was difficult.

I am ready to travel now. I think the tournaments will keep me busy this winter. I am glad.

I started putting good from the third round. All my wins were come from behind victories. Maybe next time I should manage it better and make it an easy way to win.

Poom Saksansin of Thailand

Poom Saksansin of Thailand

Poom Saksansin (Tha) – Final Round 73 (+2), Total 274 (-10)

I played well in my first eight holes and then I got into trouble on the ninth. I was holding a four-shot lead at that point so I was just thinking of making par and maintain that four-shot lead. I should have hit drive off the tee because it was upwind but I hit my three-wood instead. It went out of bound.

After making that triple-bogey on ninth, I told myself I still have a one-shot lead so I shouldn’t get too caught up with it. But I thought I lost the good feeling in my game after that. I tried my best but it just doesn’t seem to get better after that. My putts just didn’t go in.

On the 17th hole, I was actually aiming for a hole-in-one so I can get the three million yen on offer (laughs)! I thought maybe my luck will come on this hole and I will have a chance to pip Kataoka to the title.

It’s still a great week for me overall. This joint runner-up finish should put me inside top-10 on the Order of Merit now. I have two more tournaments to play in Chinese Taipei before the cut-off date for CIMB Classic so hopefully I can continue to play well to stay inside top-10.

It’s disappointing to lose the four-shot lead I had at one point but it’s golf, a tied-second place result is good enough for me. This week will be a good experience for me. This year has been a great year for me. I still have exemptions on Tour next year so I will keep trying to win again.

Tadahiro Takayama (Jpn) – Final Round 73 (+2), Total 274 (-10)

I played a good round I thought. I tried my best till the last moment. I enjoyed the competition because anyone can win. I guess the shot that determined the tournament winner was Kataoka’s tee shot on 17 which saw him yield a birdie.

Poom’s triple-bogey on the ninth hole made the game very interesting to all players who are trying to chase him. I am part of them too. Actually, I was happy that I had a chance but I struggled with the feeling and dropped shots there.

I made good birdie on 14 to take the lead. I hit a good drive on the 16th hole but was on a divot. It was an unlucky lie and I had a bad angle to the green.

My driver gave me trouble today. I hit my tee shots to the right on 10, 11 and 15. I need to work on that part of my game.

It was a good week for me nevertheless. I need to straighten my back. When the chance come next time, I should be prepared.

A good player will find his way to win even when he struggles with bad shots. I like to be that kind of player one day.

Scores after round 4 of the Asia-Pacific Open Golf Championship Diamond Cup being played at the par 71, 7100 Yards Caledonian GC course (am – denotes amateur):

272 – Daisuke KATAOKA (JPN) 67-69-66-70.

274 – Poom SAKSANSIN (THA) 68-66-67-73, Tadahiro TAKAYAMA (JPN) 62-66-73-73.

275 – K.T. KIM (KOR) 64-75-70-66, Younghan SONG (KOR) 66-70-71-68, Shugo IMAHIRA (JPN) 67-67-71-70.

276 – Sungjae IM (KOR) 69-69-73-65, David OH (USA) 68-73-68-67, Matthew GRIFFIN (AUS) 69-68-70-69.

277 – Yosuke ASAJI (JPN) 67-72-70-68, I.J. JANG (KOR) 69-69-69-70, HUNG Chien-yao (TPE) 69-67-69-72.

278 – Angelo QUE (PHI) 72-66-74-66, Jbe KRUGER (RSA) 66-68-74-70, Yujiro OHORI (JPN) 69-67-71-71.

279 – S.S.P. CHAWRASIA (IND) 71-69-72-67, Juvic PAGUNSAN (PHI) 68-70-73-68, Shota AKIYOSHI (JPN) 71-70-70-68.

280 – Michael HENDRY (NZL) 70-71-72-67, Keiichiro FUKABORI (JPN) 69-71-72-68, Ryuko TOKIMATSU (JPN) 70-70-73-67, Shunsuke SONODA (JPN) 67-75-72-66, Johannes VEERMAN (USA) 71-69-71-69, Pavit TANGKAMOLPRASERT (THA) 65-71-74-70, Miguel TABUENA (PHI) 70-71-69-70.

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