Bethpage, New York, May 20: Thailand’s Jazz Janewattananond enjoyed the best result by a Thai player at the PGA Championship after closing with a seven-over-par 77 on Sunday.
The 23-year-old Jazz took a commendable tied-14th finish after marking his card with one double bogey, six bogeys and a birdie to compile a four-day total of two-over-par 282 at the challenging Bethpage Black course.
American Brooks Koepka went wire-to-wire to successfully defend his title with a 74 which propelled him to the number one spot on the Official World Golf Rankings (OWGR).
Thailand’s Kiradech Aphibarnrat finished in tied-41st following a 75 while South Africa’s Justin Harding took tied-54th after carding a 72.
American’s Kurt Kitayama (72) and David Lipsky (71) ended their campaigns in tied-64th and tied-71st respectively.
With lucrative events such as World Golf Championships (WGC) and Majors looming, the Official World Golf Rankings (OWGR) becomes all important. Here we follow the Asian Tour players that are making a charge up the rankings and their quest to play their way into these events via the OWGR.
Thailand’s Kiradech Aphibarnrat fired a final round seven-under-par 64 to finish tied-fifth at the AT&T Byron Nelson on the PGA TOUR to gain two places in the rankings and move to number 41 from 43 on the OWGR. Kiradech is already eligible for all the above events.
By Olle Nordberg, Former Asian Tour and European Tour professional.
Last week’s Asia-Pacific Diamond Cup in Chiba prefecture, Japan proved to be a very tough scoring week, with only five players finishing the week in red figures. In the end it was Japan’s Yosuke Asaji who came out tops, holding off the challenge from Micah Lauren Shin and local amateur Ren Yonezawa to win by one shot with his winning total of three-under-par 281.
It was Asaji’s first win on Tour and the 15 OWGR points collected means he rises to number 301 from 637 in last week’s rankings.
Joint runner-up Shin had his best finish since winning the Resorts World Manila Masters in 2017 and climbs to number 362 from 552 the previous week. Also, most importantly locking up his 2020 Asian Tour playing rights by picking up US$147,187 in the process.
Of the players in position to gain access to the upcoming Majors via the OWGR, Justin Harding, Jazz Janewattananond, Shaun Norris, Kurt Kitayama and David Lipsky all received Special Invitations for this week’s PGA Championship at Bethpage Black in New York.
Playing in the AT&T Byron Nelson Harding again produced some of the Sunday magic he has become known for- shooting a final round six-under-par 65 to finish tied-10th. Harding’s first top-10 on the PGA TOUR gains him three spots in the rankings to 42 from 45, and he should now have secured an exemption to the US Open Championship at Pebble Beach Golf Links June 13 to 16.
The qualifying criteria for this is to be inside the top-60 on the OWGR by either May 20 or June 10, the two cut-off dates available.
Being a top-50 OWGR player comes with a lot of perks. Harding will get an exemption into next week’s Charles Schwab Challenge in Ft. Worth, Texas, and if he can remain in the top-50 at the conclusion of the PGA Championship, he will also qualify for the following week’s Memorial Tournament in Dublin, Ohio.
Jazz did not play in Japan and slides two spots in the rankings to number 72 from 70 last week after taking the week off to prepare for this week’s PGA Championship
This week in New York will be very important if Jazz is going to play his way into the US Open via the OWGR with the high number of points on offer. A top-10 finish could be enough to vault Jazz inside the mark for the first cut-off date.
Currently ranked number 99 on the OWGR thanks to a very strong 2018 season that included a win in the Heiwa PGM Championship on the Japan Tour, and 11 other top 10s around the world.
This week will be Norris’s first start in a Major on US soil, having played The Open Championship twice in 2017 and 2018 finishing tied-62nd and tied-61st respectively.
By not playing last week to get ready for the PGA Championship, Kitayama drops two places on the list from 108 to 110. This will be the first career Major Championship appearance by the winner of the 2018 AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open and the 2019 Oman Open.
This will be Lipsky’s third Major Championship start, having played in The Open Championship twice in 2015 and 2017. He did not play last week and lost a few spots in the OWGR, sliding to 118 from 115 the previous week. Lipsky has been playing very good golf since his win at the Alfred Dunhill Championship last December, with two recent top-five’s and a tied-10th in the WGC-Mexico Championship earlier in February.
Gurgaon, India, May 14: The highly acclaimed US$400,000 Panasonic Open India will move to the Classic Golf and Country Club in Gurgaon when it returns to the Asian Tour for its ninth consecutive edition from November 14 to 17.
Dubbed as one of India’s finest courses, the Classic Golf and Country Club is the first Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Course in South Asia and it comprises of an 18-Hole Signature Championship Course as well as a 9-Hole Signature Canyon Course.
It also witnessed a slice of history in 2009 when Thailand’s Chapchai Nirat recorded the world’s lowest 72-hole score with a 32-under-par to win the third of his four Asian Tour titles then.
The then 25-year-old Thai had opened his campaign with two consecutive 10-under-par 62s before signing for a third-round 65 and a final-round 67, thanks to a closing birdie which helped him claim a commanding 11-shot victory.
Prior to hosting its first Asian Tour event in 2009, the Classic Golf and Country Club was home to the prestigious Indian Open in 2000 and 2001. Over the past few years, it has also played host to several tournaments on the Professional Golf Tour of India (PGTI).
The Panasonic Open India, staged previously at the Delhi Golf Club, celebrated worthy champions in Anirban Lahiri (2011), Digvijay Singh (2012), Australian Wade Ormsby (2013), S.S.P. Chawrasia (2014), Chiragh Kumar (2015), Mukesh Kumar (2016), Shiv Kapur (2017) and Khalin Joshi (2018).
It is also known to have jumpstarted the careers for many leading Indian players such as Lahiri. Since winning the inaugural edition, Lahiri has gone on to win six more titles and was crowned the 2014 Asian Tour Order of Merit champion. He is currently plying his trade on the PGA Tour.
Cho Minn Thant, Asian Tour Chief Operating Officer, said: “We are very excited to return to The Classic Golf and Country Club for the ninth staging of the Panasonic Open India this year. It has been 10 long years since we last held an event on that course and to head back to a course where our member Chapchai set a world record is really exciting news for us.
“Since its inauguration in 2011, the Panasonic Open India has produced many worthy champions over the years. We hope that we can continue to unearth new talents through this event,” Cho added.
B.Hariharan , Managing Director of Landbase India Limited which owns and operates the Signature Golf Course, said: “We are delighted that the prestigious Panasonic Open India is being staged at the Classic Golf and Country Club and we look forward to working with key stakeholders to make this a memorable event.”
Co-sanctioned by the Asian Tour and the Professional Golf Tour of India (PGTI), the tournament continues to form part of the unique Panasonic Swing, an aggregate point race that spans five events where players have an opportunity to shoot for a share of the lucrative bonus pool.
India’s Shiv Kapur topped the inaugural 2017/18 Panasonic Swing ranking with total points of 2922.90, thanks largely to his victory at the Panasonic Open India, which was his first Asian Tour victory on home soil and second win in 2017.
Kapur went on to win his fourth Asian Tour title at the Royal Cup in Thailand one month later and became the first and only player to win three times on the region’s premier Tour that season.
The Panasonic Open India has been dominated by Indians since its inception. Australian Wade Ormsby remains the only non-Indian player to have won the tournament when he emerged victorious in 2013.
Sentosa, Singapore, May 13: Korean-American Micah Lauren Shin was thrilled to rediscover his best form as he broke into the top-10 on the latest Asian Tour Habitat for Humanity Standings after capping a noteworthy joint runner-up finish at the Asia-Pacific Diamond Cup on Sunday.
Shin, who claimed his Asian Tour breakthrough in 2017, had endured an uncharacteristic run of poor form prior to his fine showing at the Sobu Country Club in Japan. He missed the halfway cut twice and has never finish inside top-60 in five starts since the start of the season.
With his father on the bag last week, Shin found himself leading by two shots at the halfway stage after opening with rounds of 71 and 67 at the JPY150,000,000 (US$1,338,000) event, sanctioned by the Asian Tour and the Japan Golf Tour Organisation (JGTO).
A pair of closing 72s, however, saw the 22-year-old Shin settle for a share of second place alongside local amateur Ren Yonezawa on two-under-par 282, just a shot behind Yosuke Asaji of Japan, who closed with a 72 to claim his first professional title.
Despite missing out on his second Tour victory, Shin took pride in his confidence-boosting finish which marked his best result since his victory in Manila in 2017 and propelled him to a career-high seventh place on the Merit rankings, thanks to a current haul of US$162,231.
“It’s disappointing to miss out on the win of course but I really tired my best to catch him (Asaji). I haven’t been playing well lately and I needed a result like this to boost my confidence,” said Shin, who has been based in Davao City, Philippines with his father for more than half a decade.
“But I know I have the game to do well so hopefully, this is the start of better things to come,” added the young talent, who came through the Qualifying School in 2017 before going on to claim his breakthrough win at the Resorts World Manila Masters the same year.
Shin’s maiden win in the Philippines held extra significance as it came after the then 20-year-old called a ruling on himself on the opening hole of the final round and was penalised two strokes for having 15 clubs in the bag.
His two-year winner’s exemption ends this season but Shin has virtually retained his card for 2020 as he is likely to finish inside top-60 on the final Order of Merit following his tied-second finish in Japan.
Zimbabwean Scott Vincent recorded his second top-10 result this season after battling to a 72 to finish three shots back in tied-sixth place. He would move up a spot to eighth position on the money list, where Australian Scott Hend continues to lead on US$527,530.
Thailand’s rising star Jazz Janewattananond, who will be making his debut appearance at the PGA Championship this week, remains in second place with US$471,295 while Korea’s Taehee Lee took third on US$266,798.
Top-20 players on the Habitat for Humanity Standings
Pos Player Order of Merit (US$)
1. Scott HEND (AUS) $527,530.94
2. Jazz JANEWATTANANOND (THA) $471,295.40
3. Taehee LEE (KOR) $266,798.00
4. Masahiro KAWAMURA (JPN) $249,266.67
5. Zach MURRAY (AUS) $197,444.91
6. Johannes VEERMAN (USA) $167,216.73
7. Micah Lauren SHIN (USA) $162,231.17
8. Scott VINCENT (ZWE) $142,062.24
9. David LIPSKY (USA) $137,309.79
10. Janne KASKE (FIN) $106,719.00
11. Prom MEESAWAT (THA) $91,980.10
12. Panuphol PITTAYARAT (THA) $87,509.11
13. Sadom KAEWKANJANA (THA) $81,777.54
14. Berry HENSON (USA) $78,774.09
15. S. CHIKKARANGAPPA (IND) $77,128.12
16. Yuta IKEDA (JPN) $74,749.19
17. Ajeetesh SANDHU (IND) $70,801.84
18. Jarin TODD (USA) $68,128.75
19. Paul PETERSON (USA) $67,402.25
20. Dongkyu JANG (KOR) $62,607.25
For full listing, please click here.
Chiba prefecture, Japan, May 13: Here are five takeaways from the Asia-Pacific Diamond Cup where Japan’s Yosuke Asaji claimed his first professional win on Sunday.
Dallas, Texas, May 13: Thai star Kiradech Aphibarnrat bounced back from a recent knee injury by closing with a flawless seven-under-par 64 to finish in a share of fifth place at the PGA TOUR’s AT&T Byron Nelson on Sunday.
Kiradech, the first player from Thailand to earn full playing rights on the PGA Tour, marked his third top-five finish of the 2018/19 season after compiling a four-day total of 17-under-par 267, four shots back of winner Sung Kang of Korea, at the Trinity Forest Golf Club.
The 29-year-old Thai, who came in tied-third at the World Golf Championships-Mexico Championship in February, had unfortunately tore his anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) when he made his third appearance at The Masters last month.
South African Justin Harding, who won twice on both the Asian Tour and Sunshine Tour in 2018 before securing his maiden European Tour title two months ago, recorded his first top-10 finish on the PGA TOUR after signing for a 65 to grab a share of 10th place on 268.
It was only his 10th career start on the PGA Tour. The 33-year-old Harding stole the show in his dream Masters debut last month where he finished tied-12th to earn a return invite to Augusta National in 2020.
Kiradech and Harding would move to 41st and 42nd place respectively on the latest Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR), courtesy of their strong outings in Texas last week.
Chiba prefecture, Japan, May 12: Japan’s Yosuke Asaji capped an unforgettable week when he held his nerve to win the Asia-Pacific Diamond Cup by one shot on Mother’s Day at the Sobu Country Club on Sunday.
With his mother and wife following him throughout the final round, Asaji, who earned his spot by topping the Monday Qualifiers, kept his composure as he held on to his overnight lead to eventually close with a one-over-par 72.
Asaji’s winning total of three-under-par 281 also earned him a spot at The 148th Open which will be held at Royal Portrush, Northern Ireland in July.
The Japanese was chasing his first professional victory and admitted he also had a stroke of luck with his closest rivals failing to dislodge him from the leaderboard’s summit.
Micah Lauren Shin of the United States tried to surmount a late charge but dropped three shots in his inward-nine and had to settle for a share of second place with Japanese amateur Ren Yonezawa.
New Zealand’s Danzel Ieremia and Korea’s Y.E. Yang were tied for fourth while Zimbabwean Scott Vincent secured another top-10 by sharing sixth place with Korea’s Dongkyu Jang.
The Asia-Pacific Diamond Cup was the Asian Tour’s first stop in Japan this season and second of four co-sanctioned events with the Japan Golf Tour Organisation (JGTO) this year.
Did you know?
Yosuke Asaji (Jpn) Fourth round 72 (+1), Total 281 (-3)
I’m really happy as this is my first professional victory and it was such a tough battle out there today. I was up against so many quality players and I had to play my best golf. I was also lucky some of them did not manage to catch me. But I got a lot of support from everyone this week especially my wife and my mother who are here with me this week. It’s mother’s day today and I’m happy I’m able to deliver the best gift to my mother on this special day. It’s unbelievable I’m also going to The Open now with this victory. This is truly a very special week for me, starting from getting through the Monday qualifiers, to winning the tournament and now playing in my first Major.
Micah Lauren Shin (Usa) Fourth round 72 (+1), Total 282 (-2)
Of course it’s disappointing as I really tried my best to catch him (Asaji). But I wasn’t driving it so well today and it was tough. When I stepped up to the tee this morning, I just told myself I got to get the ball on the fairway because if I can do it, I’ll have a good chance for at least a par or birdie. I haven’t been playing well lately and I needed a result like this to boost my confidence. So if I can look on the bright side, I know I have the game to do well and hopefully, this is the start of better things to come.
Scott Vincent (Zim) Fourth round 72 (+1), Total 284 (Ev)
It’s a great week obviously I have been struggling for a bit of form recently and it’s nice to come out here and feel the pressure and the nerves of being in contention, so I’m really happy with how it went. I got a little bit to work on but it’s moving in the right direction. Yes, the second round I played great I just had a really bad finish, I don’t know why I made a couple of poor choices but what was really encouraging was just being able to play well on the third day and get yourself right back in it and then you know, anything can happen today. We got another four weeks in Japan after this so I’m looking forward to being in one place for a change.
Lu Wei-chih (Tpe) Fourth round 72 (+1), Total 285 (+1)
I’m really happy with my performance this year. It was a tough course but I showed that I can still play well despite the challenging conditions. I had a disappointing start at the beginning of the year but I feel my game is slowly coming back together especially after a week like this. It’s wonderful to have my wife and daughter here with me in Japan this week. Their presence has given me lots of motivation to play even better and it feels like I’m playing at home with them here by my side.