Kitayama hopes to continue his success on the continent at the Asia-Pacific Classic

Wed 16 May 2018

Kitayama hopes to continue his success on the continent at the Asia-Pacific Classic

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Zhengzhou, Henan, China, May 16: Kurt Kitayama of the United States has enjoyed a successful foray into Asia and he looks set to carry on the good momentum at the Asia-Pacific Classic which gets underway on Thursday.

The Qualifying School graduate started the year triumphantly with a win on the Asian Development Tour (ADT) followed by a tied-fourth finish at the New Zealand Open. Buoyed by his performances over the last few months, he is feeling confident heading into the tournament in China, which will be contested at the St Andrews Golf Club.

The young American is part of a strong contingent of Qualifying School graduates at the US$300,000 event that is co-sanctioned by the Asian Tour and the China Golf Association (CGA).

The list includes recently-crowned ADT Tour champion Shohei Hasegawa of Japan as well as Ben Campbell of New Zealand and Jack Harrison of England, who both finished tied-second in Bangladesh last week.


Prom Meesawat of Thailand


Prom Meesawat of Thailand, the highest-ranked player on the Asian Tour Habitat for Humanity Standings this week, feels that his game is on the ascendency. The experienced golfer has only missed one cut this year (not taking into consideration his withdrawal in Korea two weeks ago). Prom is targeting his third Asian Tour win at the Asia-Pacific Classic.

Similarly, India’s Chikkarangappa S. is aiming for victory in China, which will be his first on the Asian Tour. The 24-year-old, who narrowly retained his Asian Tour card for 2018, has a good feel of the golf course and is optimistic about putting in an excellent performance this week.

The Asia-Pacific Classic the Asian Tour’s second stop in China this year. The tournament is promoted and operated by Beijing based promoter CGD (Beijing) Sports Industry Co., Ltd (CGDs).

Did you know:

  • Kurt Kitayama was 1121st on the Official World Golf Ranking list at the end of 2017. He ventured to Asia and is now ranked 482nd.
  • He qualified for the season-opening Singapore Open in the top spot. He shot six-under-par 65 at the Qualifying Tournament, which was played on Sentosa Golf Club’s Tanjong Course.
  • Kitayama won his first ADT tournament in Johor in January. He enjoyed a two-shot victory over second-placed John Catlin, who is also competing this week.
  • Prom Meesawat is a two-time Asian Tour champion. He won in 2006 and 2014, in Korea and Chinese Taipei respectively.
  • Prom is the highest ranked golfer on the Habitat for Humanity Standings in the field this week. He has earned US$100,469 so far.
  • His nickname is The Big Dolphin because of his physique and that he hails from the coastal town of Hua Hin.
  • Chikkarangappa S. is a two-time ADT winner. Both victories were achieved in India.
  • He finished 61st on the 2017 Asian Tour Order of Merit, which was just enough to secure his Tour card for 2018.
  • The Asia-Pacific Classic is Chikkarangappa's first professional tournament in China. He competed twice in the country previously as an amateur.

Players’ Quotes

Kurt Kitayama (Usa)

It’s been a great year so far and I’ve enjoyed the new experiences as well as the new places here in Asia. I’ve also had a couple of good finishes and a win. So yes, 2018 has been brilliant for me so far.

The excitement of trying something new spurred me on. I also have a different mindset while playing here on the continent. The Web.Com Tour season is typically short, so when you’re behind on the money list, you start to grind and put a lot of pressure on yourself.

It’s slightly less hectic here, so I’m able to focus a little more. And as I’ve mentioned, when you travel to new countries and experience different cultures, it’s certainly more exciting compared to travelling within the United States. Asia has been an inspiration to my game.

The set up here in China is different for sure. The course is pretty good, has a good layout and I’m excited to play on it this week. You’ll have to drive it well here. There are a lot of hazards off the tee, so you’ll have to be accurate. The greens are pretty big, so I should be able to hit those. We’ll also have to factor in the rough, which is quite thick.

I’ve risen quite substantially on the world rankings, with the win on the ADT and my tied-fourth finish in New Zealand. It has been great.

I’ve been driving a lot better this year compared to last year. With that, I’ve got a lot more scoring opportunities.

I’m looking for a good finish here in Zhengzhou and with that, ride a good momentum into the next half of the year.

Prom Meesawat (Tha)

The course is good and the greens, as well as fairways, are soft. It’s not that long. It should be a low scoring week. Although, it depends on the wind and the weather. Putting is key to scoring well on any course, and St Andrews is no exception. I’m working on that aspect of my game in particular. I lost that good putting feeling in Japan, so hopefully, I can get it fixed before the start of the tournament this week.

I’m not thinking about being the highest-ranked player on the Habitat for Humanity Standings. I’m just coming here to compete and focus on getting back into the winners’ circle. I’m going to play more on the Asian Tour this year, and I hope to play well enough to win again.

Early this year, I missed the cut in Singapore, but I’ve been playing well after that. My game is slowly coming back. In Perth, I was enjoying the course and I didn’t put too much pressure on myself. It has worked for me, evidently.

I always enjoy coming back to China. I always play well here and I hope to do that again this week.

Chikkarangappa S. (Ind)

This is my first professional event in China. It’s been nice so far and I’ve been enjoying my experience here. It is similar to India, especially when it comes to population size! The weather has been great so far. There’s a bit of rain, but it’s clearing up nicely.

The course has an interesting layout, with plenty of water bodies. The greens here are huge and sloppy, so it’ll be a tough week for us when it comes to putting. As the days go on, we’ll have a better idea of the greens for sure. The fairways and greens are soft, which means that the ball won’t be running too much. So, we’ll have to take that into consideration.

Obviously, I will want to win the tournament. But other than that, I’m taking the opportunity to explore the rest of the country. Who knows? I may just take the chance to visit this cool place called The Ark Hotel after the tournament. Google it!

Ends.

About Asian Tour

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 Rolex (Official Timekeeper), Panasonic (Official Consumer Electronics), Habitat for Humanity (Official Sustainable Development Partner), ECCO (Official Footwear Sponsor), Titleist and FootJoy (Official Web Partner), Bloomberg TV (Official International Media Partner), Bloomberg Businessweek Chinese (Official International Media Partner), Wall Street Journal (Official International Media Partner) and Sentosa in Singapore which is the Home of the Asian Tour which also has an office in Kuala Lumpur.