Chan aims to reignite unforgettable memories at the Panasonic Open Championship

Tue 17 Apr 2018

Chan aims to reignite unforgettable memories at the Panasonic Open Championship

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Osaka, Japan, April 17: Chinese Taipei’s Chan Shih-chang is hoping for another unforgettable week in Japan as he prepares to take another shot at glory at the Panasonic Open Championship which starts on Thursday. 

Chan had a season to remember in 2016 when he sensationally claimed his second Asian Tour victory at the Ibaraki Country Club, which is also the host venue for this week’s JP¥150,000,000 (approx. US$1,370,000) event that is sanctioned by the Asian Tour and Japan Golf Tour Organisation (JGTO).

While he has not reached the heights of his 2016 Asian Tour season where he finished in fourth place on the merit standings, the 31-year-old is hoping to make up for lost time by battling his way back into winner’s circle again this week.

India’s Ganganjeet Bhullar is also eyeing a grandstand finish to pip current Panasonic Swing leader Shiv Kapur to the top prize as the Panasonic Swing series reaches its conclusion on Sunday.

The Indian still has a mathematical chance of overtaking his compatriot and knows he is capable of surmounting a late challenge if he plays true to form.

Like Bhullar, Scott Vincent of Zimbabwe can also clinch the Panasonic Swing series should Kapur misses the cut and he wins the Panasonic Open Championship.

After enduring several close finishes in 2017, Vincent, who is the first Zimbabwean to play on the Asian Tour, will be counting on his biggest fan and wife, Kelsey to steer him to his maiden breakthrough on the Asian Tour.

Did you know?

  • Chan Shih-chang overcame a six-shot deficit at the start of the final round to win his second Asian Tour title at the Ibaraki Country Club two years ago.
  • Chan’s success at the Ibaraki Country Club came just two months following his career breakthrough in Thailand earlier that year.
  • Chan’s win in Japan that year remains his biggest win since he turned professional in 2008.
  • Chan’s best result this season was a tied-25th finish in India last month
  • Prior to his breakthrough on the Asian Tour, Chan was as one of the most successful players on the Asian Development Tour with a total of five victories. He was rewarded with his playing rights on the Asian Tour in 2014 after claiming three ADT titles in a single season.
  • Gaganjeet Bhullar is the first player to win eight titles on the Asian Tour before turning 30. He is also the youngest player to achieve the feat on the Asian Tour.
  • Bhullar is among the only three Indian players to hold the most number of wins (eight) on the Asian Tour. The other two players are Arjun Atwal and Jyoti Randhawa.
  • Bhullar missed the cut in his last two events in India and Australia. His best result so far this season is a tied-10th finish in Myanmar in January.
  • Scott Vincent missed only one cut in his last four events on the Asian Tour. His best result so far was finishing tied-10th in Myanmar.
  • Vincent earned his Asian Tour card when he finished in sixth place at the Asian Tour Qualifying School in 2016.
  • He enjoyed four top-10s in 2017 and came close to winning in Korea, Chinese Taipei and Indonesia where he finished tied-third, second and third respectively.
  • Vincent holds a finance degree from Virginia Tech University.

Players’ Quotes

Chan Shih-chang (Tpe)

Coming back to this golf course is always very exciting. After all, it was my first win in Japan and it always gives me a good feeling whenever I come back to a place where I’ve won before. I try not to give myself too much pressure as it might do more harm than good. What’s important is to enjoy the week and play to my own strengths. This is a long course and it’s important to drive the ball well and I’ve been working hard on my driving before coming over here.

Gaganjeet Bhullar (Ind)

I did some work on my swing during the break and I’m really excited to be back and playing these next few events on the Asian Tour. I still have a chance of pipping Shiv to the top prize for the Panasonic Swing. Overtaking him to the top spot is still at the back of my mind and the key to doing well here is to swing the ball well and give myself lots of birdie opportunities here. It has been a decent start to the season. I had one top-10 finish this year so far but the goal is to play well and always do better than what I’ve been doing the last few years. The last time I played here was in 2016. It’s a great course and it’s long. I believe there’s less rough this time around and might be advantageous to players from the Asian Tour.

Scott Vincent (Zim)

It’s so good to come back and get those competitive juices going all over again. Japan is obviously a nice place to restart the season and the wife’s on the bag again and we’re looking forward to a good week. It’s great having her here and she’s a huge help. She’s an amazing travel companion to have and it’s always a fun with her around me. It’s always very nice to have a lot of tournaments to play and there’s a nice stretch coming up for us. I’m looking forward to it. It would be amazing if I can beat Shiv to the Panasonic Swing top prize and if it all goes to plan, that would be superb. It has been a really good start to the season and it’s nice to come here, knowing that the pressure’s a little off. I’m still trying to chase that first win and hopefully these next couple of weeks will be good to me and pay off.