Kodaira leads while Asian Tour trio lurk #DiamondCup

Thu 22 Sep 2016

Kodaira leads while Asian Tour trio lurk #DiamondCup

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Osaka, Japan, September 22: Local prospect Satoshi Kodaira credited his improved putting stroke for a superb six-under-par 64 which saw him lead the opening round of the Asia-Pacific Diamond Cup on Thursday.
Thitiphun Chuayprakong of Thailand Thitiphun Chuayprakong of Thailand
The 27-year-old Japanese, who has won thrice on the local circuit, marked his card with seven birdies against a lone bogey to lead by one shot over compatriot Shugo Imahira at the highly-acclaimed Ibaraki Country Club’s West course.
Filipino ace Juvic Pagunsan, Thai duo Phachara Khongwatmai and Thitiphun Chuayprakong emerged as the highest placed Asian Tour members in tied-third place following matching 66s at the ¥150 million (approximately US$1.3 million) event sanctioned by the Asian Tour and the Japan Golf Tour.
Kodaira, who enjoyed the better half of the weather as the skies opened up in the afternoon with continuous rain, was thrilled to begin his title charge with a solid round where he navigated his way around the course with only 23 putts.
“I felt very calm out there. I missed a few tee shots but I made some good recoveries. My approach shots were good. I had some good saves out there too. I hit my tee shots good for all my birdies today,” said Kodaira.
“I spent a lot of time practising my putting last week. I guess that is why I feel better when I address the ball now. I practiced till dark almost every day last week. My game has improved from last year. I just have to keep trying,” he added.
PKhongwatmai Phachara Khongwatmai of Thailand
Phachara, only 17 years old, put up a stellar performance under tough rainy conditions to keep up with the hot pace set by Kodaira. Placed 69th on the Order of Merit, Phachara is aiming for a good result this week to break into top-60 and retain his Tour card for 2017.
“I hit my driver and irons good. I putted well too. Everything was good. I made some long putts for birdies as well. It was really tough out there with the rainy conditions but I think I played my best golf. My main target right now is to finish inside top-60 at the end of the season. Hopefully I can cap a good result this week,” said the young Thai.
Thitiphun set the course on fire when he nailed five birdies in his opening six holes. He stumbled with bogeys on seventh and 10 in the rain but recovered with another birdie on 15 for a back nine 35.
“I had a superb start. I hit the ball so good today. I gained a lot of confidence from there. It was really tough when it started raining on the seventh hole. I think that was the toughest condition I have ever played in. I stayed patient and just try to stick to my game plan,” said the 24-year-old Thai, who claimed his breakthrough win in Bangladesh earlier in February.
Juvic Pagunsan of Philippines Juvic Pagunsan of Philippines
Pagunsan, 2011 Asian Tour Order of Merit winner, rode on a hot putter for a commendable round highlighted by five birdies against a lone bogey.
“I putted really well. That was the key for me. I just played shot by shot out there and I think I got lucky at some points. You need to keep hitting it good and keep finding the fairways to score out there. I had a long birdie putt from 15 feet on the par-three 12. That was the highlight for me,” said the 38-year-old Filipino.
Ends.
Scores after round 1 of the Asia-Pacific Diamond Cup being played at the par 70, 7320 Yards Ibaraki CC course (am - denotes amateur):
64 - Satoshi KODAIRA (JPN).
65 - Shugo IMAHIRA (JPN).
66 - Adam BLAND (AUS), Tetsuji HIRATSUKA (JPN), Phachara KHONGWATMAI (THA), Juvic PAGUNSAN (PHI), Takashi IWAMOTO (JPN), Thitiphun CHUAYPRAKONG (THA).
67 - Ippei KOIKE (JPN), Yuki INAMORI (JPN), Hideto TANIHARA (JPN).
68 - Yuta IKEDA (JPN), Masahiro KAWAMURA (JPN), Daisuke KATAOKA (JPN), CHIU Han-Ting (am, TPE), Katsunori KUWABARA (JPN), Sanghyun PARK (KOR), Michael HENDRY (NZL), Scott STRANGE (am, AUS), Toshinori MUTO (JPN), Ryuichi ODA (JPN), Rikuya HOSHINO (JPN).
69 - Shaun NORRIS (RSA), Masao NAKAJIMA (JPN), Kalem RICHARDSON (AUS), Yuwa KOSAIHIRA (am, JPN), Thaworn WIRATCHANT (THA), Shunsuke SONODA (JPN), Kazuhiro YAMASHITA (JPN), Ryuko TOKIMATSU (JPN), Angelo QUE (PHI), Nicholas FUNG (MAS), Jbe KRUGER (RSA).
70 - Keiichiro FUKABORI (JPN), Scott BARR (AUS), Edgar OH (am, SIN), Yoshinobu TSUKADA (JPN), Rahil GANGJEE (IND), Chapchai NIRAT (THA), Junggon HWANG (KOR), Junwon PARK (KOR), Javi COLOMO (ESP), Katsumasa MIYAMOTO (JPN), Pariya JUNHASAVASDIKUL (THA), Himmat RAI (IND), Masanori KOBAYASHI (JPN), Jeev Milkha SINGH (IND), Tadahiro TAKAYAMA (JPN), Kammalas NAMUANGRUK (am, THA), Toru TANIGUCHI (JPN), Prayad MARKSAENG (THA), Richard T. LEE (CAN), Changwoo LEE (KOR), Panuphol PITTAYARAT (THA), Hyunwoo RYU (KOR), KAZUHIRO KIDA (JPN).
About the 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), Hilton Worldwide (Official Hotel Partner), Titleist (Official Web Partner), Bloomberg TV (Official International Media Sponsor), Bloomberg Businessweek Chinese (Official Business Publication Sponsor) and Rolex (Official Timekeeper). Sentosa, Singapore is the Home of the Asian Tour which also has an office in Kuala Lumpur. Also, visit us at www.asiantour.com, www.facebook.com/asiantourgolf , www.twitter.com/asiantourgolf , www.youtube.com/theasiantour and www.weibo.com/asiantourgolf.
About Japan Golf Tour Organisation
Established: February 8, 1999, Japan Golf Tour Organization is a governing body for golf tournaments undertakings in Japan. As such, our purpose is to contribute to an orderly development of tour tournament businesses both domestic and abroad as well as to the improvement of tour players’ financial situation. Furthermore, through attempts to improve tournament surroundings, advancement of tournament standards, spreading and promoting of tournament sports shall be pursued. Concurrently, we seek to promote golf tournament related international exchange by maintaining close relations with golf tournament management bodies abroad, As a result of all, we aim at being conducive to creating and developing a rich sports culture.