Yeehaa! Cowboy Shingo leads the way

Thu 26 Sep 2013

Yeehaa! Cowboy Shingo leads the way

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Osaka, September 26: Japanese star Shingo Katayama fired a flawless eight-under-par 63 to take a two-shot lead over Thailand’s Pariya Junhasavasdikul in the opening round of the Asia-Pacific Panasonic Open on Thursday.
The flamboyant Japanese, known as ‘Cowboy Shingo’ because of his distinctive cowboy hat, got off to a flying start when he birdied the opening three holes before adding five other birdies at the challenging Ibaraki Country Club.
PariyaPariya, who won his second Asian Tour title in Malaysia in June, was equally impressive as he carded three birdies and one eagle in his first six holes before adding two more birdies against one bogey for a 65.
Japan’s Masahiro Kawamura, Song Young-han of Korea and Rory Hie of Indonesia, who missed out on an Asian Tour card at Qualifying School earlier this year, was a further six shots back from Katayama at the Y150 million (approximately US$1.48 million) event sanctioned by the Asian Tour and Japan Golf Tour.
Katayama, who has won the Japan Golf Tour money list five times, continued his dominant form as he finished fourth and second in his last two events on home soil.
He has enjoyed much success in his career which includes winning 26 titles on the Japan Golf Tour but not since 2008. He hopes his new found confidence will guide him to another victory.
“I haven’t won in a while but if I do win then it will be like a new me. I won’t say that I’m returning to my best form. It is just a new Shingo Katayama. Now I’m focused on what’s in front of me and hopefully that feeling will last. I do not want to think about the future,” he smiled.
“When I played in the practice round yesterday, I was expecting a tough week because this is a tough course and the wind was blowing so strongly. So I’m quite lucky to shoot such a low score,” added Katayama, who made a 30-yard chip-in birdie on 11.
“I didn’t expect to shoot six-under because the wind was blowing quite strongly even at six in the morning. But when you make birdie, eagle and birdie in the first three holes, it makes things much easier,” said Pariya, who is a licensed pilot.Pariya’s decision to enjoy life and spend more time on quality practice is beginning to pay huge dividends as he continues to soar on the region’s premier Tour which is celebrating its 10th season in 2013.
“If you asked me what I did to improve, I’ll say that I enjoy my life a little bit more. I don’t take golf too seriously anymore. I practice less but put in quality practice instead of quantity,” said the Thai.
Rory Hie
Hie sank a clutch eight foot par putt on the last hole to keep his score in the red. The young Indonesian qualified for the Asia-Pacific Panasonic Open when he won the Road to Panasonic Open Series in Indonesia.
“I was really impressed with the way I played today. It was fun to play with the two Japanese stars Hideto Tanihara and Hiroyuki Fujita. The course was playing pretty tough. The windy was gutsy but thankfully I had a good caddy with me and we managed to play through it,” said Hie.
“I visited my coach (George Pinnell) in the summer and he helped improve on my putting. It wasn’t technique but more a mental aspect of how to visualize the ball rolling into the hole.”
The prestigious event is hosted by the Asia-Pacific Golf Confederation, Panasonic Corporation and Japan Golf Association.
Scores after round 1 of the 2013 Asia-Pacific Open Golf Championship Panasonic being played at the par 71, 7328 Yards Ibaraki Country Club course (a- denotes amateur):
63 - Shingo KATAYAMA (JPN).
65 - Pariya JUNHASAVASDIKUL (THA).
69 - Masahiro KAWAMURA (JPN), Rory HIE (INA), SONG Young-han (KOR).
70 - KIM Sung-yoon (KOR), Prayad MARKSAENG (THA), Koumei ODA (JPN), Yoshinori FUJIMOTO (JPN), Michio MATSUMURA (JPN), Koki FURUTA (am, JPN), LEE Kyoung-hoon (KOR), Taichi TESHIMA (JPN).
71 - Kiradech APHIBARNRAT (THA), S.K. HO (KOR), PARK Sung-Joon (KOR), Shunsuke SONODA (JPN), Kazuhiko HOSOKAWA (JPN), Tetsuji HIRATSUKA (JPN), Chawalit PLAPHOL (THA), Hidemasa HOSHINO (JPN), Y.E. YANG (KOR), SIDDIKUR  (BAN), Han LEE (USA).
72 - Keiichiro FUKABORI (JPN), Gunn CHAROENKUL (THA), Brad KENNEDY (AUS), Ben FOX (USA), Sushi ISHIGAKI (JPN), Wade ORMSBY (AUS), Yoshinobu TSUKADA (JPN), Jazz JANEWATTANANOND (THA), Prom MEESAWAT (THA), LIU Yanwei (am, CHN), Masamichi UEHIRA (JPN), Yoshikazu HAKU (JPN), LU Wei-chih (TPE), LEE Sung (KOR), Makoto INOUE (JPN).
If you have further inquiries, please contact Doyle De Costa at +6012 699 1976.
About the Asian Tour
In 2013, the Asian Tour will celebrate a momentous milestone with its 10th season. As the official sanctioning body for professional golf in Asia, the Asian Tour leads the development of golf across the region, enhancing the careers of its members while maintaining a commitment to the integrity of the game. The Asian Tour, through its membership of the International Federation of PGA Tours, is the only recognised pan-Asian professional golf tour in Asia. This unique feature positions the Asian Tour at the pinnacle of professional golf in Asia; providing its events with Official World Ranking status. Tour Partners include Abacus (Official Apparel Partner), Canon (Official Imaging Partner), Inetol Headwear (Official Headwear Supplier), Saxo Capital Markets (Official Statistics Partner), Singha Beer (Official Beer), Srixon (Official Ball), Subway (Official Quick Service Restaurant), Starwood Hotels and Resorts (Official Hotels and Resorts) and Rolex (Official Timekeeper). The Asian Tour has offices in Kuala Lumpur and Singapore. Also, visit us at www.asiantour.com, www.facebook.com/asiantourgolf, www.twitter.com/asiantourgolf, www.youtube.com/theasiantour and www.weibo.com/asiantourgolf.