Wu earns major glory at OQS-Thailand

Fri 07 Mar 2014

Wu earns major glory at OQS-Thailand

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Chonburi, Thailand, March 7: China’s Wu Ashun will savour the prospect of making his second appearance at The Open Championship after he successfully earned one of the four tickets with a second round four-under-par 68 at the Open Qualifying Series-Thailand on Friday.
Japan’s Hiroshi Iwata, who held the overnight lead, topped the 36-hole qualifying event when he signed off with a 71 for a two-day total of five-under-par 139 at the Amata Spring Country Club.
Chinese Taipei amateur Pan Cheng-tsung will also get the chance to tee off against the world’s best players after he posted identical 70s over two rounds to finish tied-second with Wu.
Japan’s Tsukada Yoshinobu survived a four-way play-off and emerged as the last man standing when a par on the fourth extra hole was enough to seal his passage into The Open Championship which will be held at Royal Liverpool, Hoylake from July 17-20.
Now that he has earned his ticket to The Open Championship, Wu is determined to display the same fighting spirit that saw him overcome a slow start and power his way back into contention at the hotly contested two-day qualifier.
“I’m extremely happy as I was struggling with my round yesterday, But I managed to make up for all of that by getting a good score today,” said Wu, who opened his qualifier with a 72 and started his round four shots behind Iwata in tied-22nd position.
“Making my debut at The Open Championship was an eye opener for me last year. Now that I’ve qualified again, I’ll make the best of my opportunity and try to put up a better performance,” added the Chinese, who missed the cut last year.
Iwata is also relishing the prospects of making an impression on the biggest stage when he makes his return to the world’s oldest Major after an absence of six years.
Having seized pole position after the first round, Iwata continued his stranglehold of the lead with two birdies in his opening four holes.
His charge was halted when he bogeyed seven and eight. However, another birdie on 11 brought him back to five-under where he would then make pars on the rest of his holes coming home.
“It’s great to return to The Open Championship. It has been a long time and I’m happy to be back. I trained hard for this week and I’m glad the efforts finally paid off. I’ve been striking the ball well and I was confident of my chances. I hope to carry this form over The Open Championship,” said Iwata.
Pan is still feeling ecstatic about teeing up at The Open Championship despite having made two Major appearances at the US Open in 2011 and 2013.
“I’m still in a state of shock but at the same time I’m really happy with how I’ve played considering how tough this qualifier has been. I really hung in there during the last couple of holes,” said Pan, who has been living in Seattle, United States since 2007.
Pan, who is pursuing a Communications degree at the University of Washington, is bracing for the challenges that will await him at Royal Liverpool but is confident of getting another good result.
“The conditions are going to be very different at Royal Liverpool but I guess that’s what golf is all about. You’ve got to learn to play and compete under different conditions and hopefully, I can do well again in July,” said the 22-year-old.
Tsukada went the distance in a four-way play-off with compatriot Masahiro Kawamura, Thailand’s Jazz Janewattananond and American David Lipsky.
The Japanese stuck closely to his game plan and was duly rewarded when a par on the fourth extra play-off hole was just enough for him to earn his hard-fought ticket to Royal Liverpool after the trio had fell out of the equation.
“It was tough to make birdies during the play-off and I just said to myself that as long as I can hit the ball onto the fairway, I should be safe,” said Tsukada.
“I’ve played in the Open in 2004 and 2008. I missed the cuts on those two occasions but hopefully, I get to play all four rounds this time,” added the Japanese.
Ends.
Leading scores after round 2 of the The Open Qualifying Series - Thailand 2014 being played at the par 72, 7454 Yards Amata Spring CC course (a- denotes amateur):
139 - Hiroshi IWATA (JPN) 68-71.
140 - WU Ashun (CHN) 72-68, PAN Cheng-tsung (am, TPE) 70-70.
141 - Yoshinobu TSUKADA (JPN) 72-69, Masahiro KAWAMURA (JPN) 72-69, Jazz JANEWATTANANOND (THA) 71-70, David LIPSKY (USA) 70-71.
*Tsukada won the fourth and last ticket to The Open Championship with a par at the fourth extra play-off hole
142 - James BOWEN (USA) 72-70, Prayad MARKSAENG (THA) 72-70, Sushi ISHIGAKI (JPN) 75-67, Wade ORMSBY (AUS) 72-70, Yusaku MIYAZATO (JPN) 70-72, Arnond VONGVANIJ (THA) 70-72, Carlos PIGEM (ESP) 69-73.
143 - LIANG Wen-chong (CHN) 74-69, Pariya JUNHASAVASDIKUL (THA) 74-69, Aaron TOWNSEND (AUS) 71-72, Mardan MAMAT (SIN) 71-72, Rahil GANGJEE (IND) 71-72, Berry HENSON (USA) 70-73, LEE Sung (KOR) 70-73.
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