#PanasonicOPEN Rd 1: What they said

Thu 20 Apr 2017

#PanasonicOPEN Rd 1: What they said

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Noda City, Chiba prefecture, Japan, April 20: Read what leading contenders have to say following their first round performance at this week's Panasonic OPEN Japan.
Jason Knutzon (Usa) - First round 64 Total (-7)
I haven’t played in a while. It has been four months since I last played competitively and I’m really excited to get back out here. I’m mentally fresh. You never know what’s going to happen. I got off to a good start and that helped as I played really well after that. I made a bogey on 17 and it was nice to finish with another birdie on 18 as you never like to finish poorly. 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. Emotionally, it was a long year and I didn’t play very well. But that’s still not an excuse. 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. 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.
Udorn Duangdecha (Tha) - First Round 66 (-5)
Don’t be greedy. That’s what I’ve been telling myself. If I cannot go for a birdie, just try to make par. I’ve been very lucky with my putting today and that helped. The course conditions are perfect here and it suits my game. I like to hit the ball straight and I’ve managed to achieve that today. I feel very confident when I play here.
Satoshi Kodaira (Jpn) – First round 66 (-5)
It was a comfortable round. I’ve played on this course a couple of times and I always have good feelings about it. It was slightly windy today but my caddie managed to judge the wind directions well for me. I’m sure the crowd are hoping for a Japanese winner this week and I hope not to disappoint them.
Panuphol Pittayarat (Tha) – First round 67 (-4)
It was certainly very emotional having to deal with the loss (of his girlfriend of three years). But it can be a good thing as I’m able to practise my mental strength too. I won the tournament (on the same week his girlfriend passed away) despite my loss and I’ll keep playing the way I did that week for every week from now. I had a strong support and I was not alone in dealing with it. I played good today and I’ve been striking the ball really well too. I know I’ve a good chance this week and I’m looking forward to my breakthrough on the Asian Tour.
Prayad Marksaeng (Tha) - First round 68 (-3)
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. Every aspect of my game is good but if I need to improve on something, it would have to be my putting.
Prom Meesawat (Tha) – First round 68 (-3)
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.  I’ve played in Japan for several years already and it’s important to hit your shots straight. The Japanese players are very good at their putting and we (Asian Tour players) need to putt well in order to compete with them. The windy conditions here will be very tricky for us and it’ll be interesting to see how everyone does when it picks up.