Lu continues comeback in Panasonic Open

Tue 24 Sep 2013

Lu continues comeback in Panasonic Open

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Osaka, September 24: Lu Wei-chih will travel abroad for the first time in over a year since recovering from a brain tumour surgery when he features in the Asia-Pacific Panasonic Open which starts here on Thursday.
Lu, a three-time Asian Tour winner, took a year off to recover from his operation and returned to the Asian Tour at the Yeangder Tournament Players Championship on home soil two weeks ago where he finished tied 32nd.
He will be among a strong line-up of stars gathered at the Ibaraki Country Club which includes defending champion Masanori Kobayashi of Japan, Anirban Lahiri of India and an in-form Thaworn Wiratchant of Thailand, who won his 16th Asian Tour a fortnight ago.
Current Asian Tour Order of Merit leader Kiradech Aphibarnrat of Thailand, Yuta Ikeda of Japan, a 10-time winner on the Japan Golf Tour and former Asia-Pacific Panasonic Open champions Hideto Tanihara and Daisuke Maruyama will also feature at the Y150 million (approximately US$1.48 million) event sanctioned by the Asian Tour and Japan Golf Tour.
Since returning to the fairways, Lu has rediscovered his passion for the game but was confined to playing and practising at home only. It was only recently that he was given the green light by his doctor to travel to Japan.
Thitiphun Chuayprakong  of Thailand Thitiphun Chuayprakong of Thailand
“This year, it’s going to be special and different because it’s my first event overseas since I returned to play on the Asian Tour. My wife will be joining me as she’s worried about me. She wants to come along so she can take care of me,” said the 34-year-old Lu.
“I had planned to go on a trip with my family earlier this year but my doctor didn’t allow me to jump on a plane then. My doctor was worried that the cabin pressure will affect the wound I had from the surgery,” he added.
Lu, who finished a career high of ninth position on the 2011 Asian Tour Order of Merit, was at the peak of his career before he was diagnosed with a non-cancerous growth. He hopes to rediscover his best form and put behind what he claims was the ‘lowest point’ in his career.
“I have not flown for about a year. Now that my doctor has given me the green light to take the plane, I am really looking forward to this trip to Japan. Hopefully everything goes well for me.
“I feel very honoured to be part of the field at the Asia-Pacific Panasonic Open. It’s a very big and well-organised event. Players are treated well good during the tournament. I hope the tournament can continue to take place every year,” said Lu.
Thai young gun Thitiphun Chuayprakong hopes the hard work and time put into practice and the gym will lead him to a first victory on the region’s premier Tour which is celebrating its milestone 10th season in 2013.
Thitiphun, known as ‘Tote’ by his friends because he does things at his own pace, will aim to recover from the Yeangder TPC where he held the first round lead before going on to finish tied 21st.
Berry Henson of US Berry Henson of US
“I worked hard during the break. I spent five to six hours practising golf and another hour and a half at the gym. I feel stronger now and I hope that this will help me win my first Asian Tour title,” said the 21-year-old.
Berry Henson of the United States enjoyed a successful Asian Tour debut in 2011 when he notched his first Asian Tour victory at the Philippine Open. After making several equipment changes, the American has finally found his preferred putter.
“The putter I had was great but it worked only on certain weeks. I found the putter that I really like right now. I’ve been using that for most of the year and I’ll continue to use that. If I can keep a hot putting streak then I will win my next title,” said Henson, ranked 10th on the Order of Merit.
The prestigious event is hosted by the Asia-Pacific Golf Confederation, Panasonic Corporation and Japan Golf Association.
Players will also be fighting to be inside the top-10 of the Order of Merit as of October 7 to qualify for the US$7 million CIMB Classic in Malaysia, which is sanctioned by the Asian Tour and PGA Tour.
The leading two players on the rankings as of October 14, not otherwise exempt, will qualify for the US$8.5 million WGC-HSBC Champions in China. Kiradech has already qualified for the event by virtue of his victory at the Maybank Malaysian Open.
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.