Knutzon off to commanding start #PanasonicOPEN

Thu 20 Apr 2017

Knutzon off to commanding start #PanasonicOPEN

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Noda City, Chiba prefecture, Japan, April 20: Jason Knutzon of the United States got his 2017 Asian Tour season off to a promising start when he took the morning clubhouse lead with a seven-under-par 64 at the Panasonic OPEN Japan on Thursday.
After going through an emotionally battered year in 2016, Knutzon is hopeful his first round result at the Chiba Country Club will now set the tone for what would be a better year in 2017.
“It was a crazy year last year. I had some family issues going on back home with my wife having a bad fall. With kids at home, it was just a whole crazy thing for all of us. You like to think it’ll not affect you but it does as I was trying to deal with all of that,” said Knutzon.
“I obviously needed a break and you start to think of what you want to do in life. But it’s nice to get back out as I know I can still play,” added the two-time Asian Tour winner.
The 41-year-old, who received an invitation to play in the tournament, made a spirited run towards the turn with an outward 31.
He continued his birdie run on holes 11, 12 and 16 before dropping his only shot of the day on 17.
The American however responded immediately with a closing birdie on 18 to take a four-shot lead over Thailand’s Prayad Marksaeng and Prom Meesawat as well as Korea’s Younghan Song and Byungmin Cho in the morning.
“I felt a lot of ease on the greens as I haven’t had that feeling for a long time. It relaxes everything else. It was an awesome start and hopefully there would be more good things to come,” said Knutzon.
Prayad, a multiple winner in Japan, is meanwhile determined to follow up on his 10th Tour victory, achieved in Singapore with another at the ¥150 million (approximately US$1.37million) event.
The Thai veteran is banking on his course familiarity to put himself into contention at another Asian Tour and Japan Golf Tour Organisation (JGTO) sanctioned event.
“I’ve played on this course on several occasions and I’m very comfortable and familiar here. The only challenge is the wind which can get very strong.
“I made two costly putting mistakes on holes five and 16. My score could have been even lower if not for those mistakes on the green,” said the 51-year-old.
Despite nursing an ankle injury and having limited playing time, Prom is also looking forward to another good showing.
The Thai mixed three bogeys and three birdies for an outward 35 but cruised home comfortably with an inward 33.
“I didn’t play much golf after India as I injured my ankle. I’m still recovering from it and I can hope it gets better. I only started practising on Monday so it was a nice surprise to start well here. I hit my irons pretty well today,” said Prom, a two-time Asian Tour winner.
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 ECCO (Official Footwear Sponsor), FENIX XCell (Official Apparel Supplier), Titleist (Official Web Partner), Bloomberg TV (Official International Media Partner), Bloomberg Businessweek Chinese (Official International Media Partner) and Rolex (Official Timekeeper). Sentosa, Singapore is the Home of the Asian Tour which also has an office in Kuala Lumpur.
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