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Jazz enjoys best finish with tied-14th result at the PGA Championship

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.


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We recently attended (and sponsored) #techinclusion15. Our team members report back.

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📽: Miguel Tabuena 🇵🇭If only trees were this helpful on the course. ⛳#stayhome #staywell #coronabreak

Posted by Asian Tour on Thursday, 19 March 2020


By Olle Nordberg, Former Asian Tour and European Tour professional 

This week’s PGA Championship will be held at the Bethpage Black Course on Long Island, New York, a publicly owned course which hosted the U.S. Open in 2002. It was the first public course to host the U.S. Open then.

At 7,459 yards and par-70, it is known to be one of the toughest tests in Major Championship golf and it famously has a disclaimer by the clubhouse stating: “Warning. The Black is an extremely difficult course which we recommend only for highly skilled golfers”.

This week the Black will definitely see a field full of highly skilled golfers, and while the 3 ½ to 4 inch rough may not be as high and thick as during a U.S. Open, it will still be quite a challenge for the world’s best golfers. The fairways are expected to be cut to similar widths as at the 2009 U.S. Open, and finding them will be very important.

So how difficult is the course going to play? It is a fact that in the two U.S. Open Championships played at Bethpage Black, in 2002 and 2009, it played as the most difficult course on the respective PGATOUR seasons in relation to par.

In the two FedEx Cup play-off events held at the Black in 2012 and 2016 it was the 16th and 12th hardest, much of the easier scoring thanks to the course being played as par-71 instead of par-70 as at the U.S. Opens.

The main challenge of this course is said to be tee-to-green, since the greens are relatively flat with gentle slopes. The players will also want to avoid the deep greenside bunkers that saw a below 50% sand-save percentage last time a FedEx Cup play-off event was held here in 2016.

The general opinion is that this course heavily favors the longest hitters, and this may be even more true this year with the event played quite early in the season for the U.S. northeast. If the conditions remain soft as expected, the course will play to its full length.

The weather forecast is for temperatures ranging between 10-20*C, with showers and gusty winds forecast for Thursday morning.

Tiger Woods of the United States

My two star-player picks and why:

There is no doubt that Tiger Woods will be one of the favorites to hoist the Wanamaker Trophy this Sunday following his epic comeback win at the Masters Tournament last month.

Having finished second to Brooks Koepka in the 2018 PGA Championship, Woods has been first, second and tied-sixth in his last three Majors played.

He won the U.S. Open here in 2002 when he was the only player under par at the end of the week, winning on a score of three-under-par 277 to beat Phil Mickelson by three shots.

In the 2009 edition of the event Woods finished in a tie for sixth-place, four shots behind the winner Lucas Glover.

Woods currently leads the PGATOUR in GIR percentage with 75.56%, which bodes well for a course that requires pin-point play tee-to-green. The only time in his career he has had a higher percentage than this was in 2000, a season in which he won nine events and three Majors.

The current world number six also has a chance to reclaim the OWGR number one ranking he has not held since early 2013. If he wins and Dustin Johnson finishes outside the top-10, and Justin Rose and Brooks Koepka do not finish second, Woods will again become number one in the world. A feat that seemed impossible not too long ago.

The defending champion Brooks Koepka has won three Majors since the 2017 U.S. Open and was tied-second to Woods at Augusta recently, reversing their positions from the PGA Championship at Bellerive Country Club in St. Louis, Missouri in August last year.

With his current form and recent Major record, he should perhaps be considered the number one man to beat this week.

Since the 2016 PGA Championship Koepka is a massively impressive 55-under-par in Majors, a full 15 shots better than the next player on the list. In that span of Majors, Koepka has won three times (two U.S. Open Championships and one PGA Championship) and no missed cuts.

The years he spent playing the European Tour, in what can be sometimes very trying weather conditions, means he should be ready for whatever weather the late Long Island spring will throw at him.

With a morning tee-time on Thursday, and the weather forecast as of today, coping with cool temperatures, rain and wind in the first round might prove to be extremely important.

Kiradech Aphibarnrat of Thailand

Asian Tour Players in the field:

This week we have an impressive six Asian Tour players in the field, all making it into the event by their OWGR rankings.

Kiradech Aphibarnrat is mostly playing PGATOUR these days and the 2013 Asian Tour Order of Merit champion is coming off a tied-fifth finish in last week’s AT&T Byron Nelson, his second top-five finish of the year following a tied-third at the WGC-Mexico Championship.

A very popular figure on the U.S. Tour, he might well have very good backing from the notoriously rowdy and harsh New York sports-fans. A factor not to be underestimated this week.

Kiradech should be long enough of the tee to contend this week, but his Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green rank of 168th on the PGATOUR this season is perhaps a bit worrying.

However, his rank in Strokes Gained: Putting is near top of the class, and he currently sits at number three so far this season.

Justin Harding has since his win at the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters been playing almost exclusively in the U.S., and like Kiradech had a good finish in Dallas last week finishing tied-tenth.

With a tied 12th finish at the Masters Tournament last month he is a proven Major Championship contender, and his playing record since the start of 2018 until now is extremely impressive.

Already known among his South African peers as a great putter, he is currently ranked number one in Strokes Gained: Putting in the 2019 PGATOUR season. On a long demanding course with punishing rough, hitting the fairways will play a big part in who comes out on top this week. In addition to his impressive putting statistics above, Harding is ranked number five in Total Driving, and sixth in Driving Accuracy.

Jazz Janewattanond has perhaps been the breakout star of the 2019 Asian Tour season, although it must be said that his ascent to the top-ranks of the game started in 2018.

Since late May last year, Jazz has racked up an impressive 15 top-10’s (11 of them top 5’s) in his last 30 events played, including two wins at the 2019 SMBC Singapore Open and the 2018 Queen’s Cup Presented by Bangchak.

This will be Jazz’s second career Major Championship following his debut at last year’s Open Championship and going by course reputation will be a totally different challenge compared to Carnoustie last year.

With a very solid all-round game, Jazz will be looking to make a big impact on the world stage at the year’s second Major.

Shaun Norris had a great 2018 season with a total of 12 top-10’s worldwide, including a win at the JGTO HEIWA PGM CHAMPIONSHIP in early November, a second at the Japan Open Championship and tied-second at the SMBC Singapore Open.

He finished second on the 2018 JGTO Money Rankings, having earned JPY103,942,450 or roughly US$950,000.

This will be Norris’s third Major but first on U.S. soil, having previously made the cuts at The Open Championship in 2017 and 2018.

A naturally big and strong player, Norris may be able to handle the thick rough should he miss the fairways at Bethpage Black this week.

Kurt Kitayama has added a couple of victories to his resume since late last year, winning the AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open last December, and the Oman Open this March.

Known as one of the longest drivers on the Asian and European Tours, the course might suit Kitayama’s game just fine.

This will be Kitayama’s first career Major Championship.

David Lipsky is enjoying a very solid stretch of tournaments since his win at the Alfred Dunhill Championship last December, coming off consecutive top-5’s in his last two events to go along with a tied-10th at the WGC-Mexico Championship.

Playing in his third Major Championship and first in the U.S., Lipsky will be looking to improve on his current best Major performance of a tied-58th finish in The Open Championship in 2015.


Asian Tour members and notables’ tee-times:

7:07 AM              Brandt Snedeker                             Kiradech Aphibarnrat                    Max Homa

7:18 AM              Henrik Stenson                                David Lipsky                                     Richard Sterne

7:29 AM              Mike Lorenzo-Vera                         Justin Harding                                  Sam Ryder

8:13 AM              Lee Westwood                                 Shaun Norris                                    Charles Howell III

8:24 AM              Brooks Koepka                                 Francesco Molinari                         Tiger Woods

1:38 PM               Rory McIlroy                                     Phil Mickelson                                          Jason Day

2:11 PM               Jazz Janewattananond                Tyler Hall                                            Michael Kim

2:22 PM               Dylan Frittelli                                    Andrew Filbert                                 Kurt Kitayama


Tournament Facts:

Prize money: TBA (US$11 million in 2018). Winner’s share: TBA (US$1.98 million in 2018).

Defending champion: Brooks Koepka

Previous Majors at Bethpage Black:

Year                     Date                  Tournament                  Winner                           Score                  To par  

2002                     Jun 13–16           U.S. Open                           Tiger Woods                      277                        −3

2009                     Jun 18–22           U.S. Open                          Lucas Glover                     276                        −4

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.

  • Justin Harding (RSA)

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 Janewattananond (THA)

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.

  • Shaun Norris (RSA)

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.

  • Kurt Kitayama (USA)

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.

  • David Lipsky (USA)

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.

  1. It was a week of many firsts for Yosuke Asaji. He topped the Monday Qualifiers to earn a spot at the Asia-Pacific Diamond Cup. Thanks to his victory, Asaji will also be playing at The 148th Open for the first time this July. The Asia-Pacific Diamond Cup was his first professional win.
  2. Yosuke Asaji turned professional in 2012.  He finished in 56th place on the JGTO money list last season but only the top-50 players get a spot into the Asia-Pacific Diamond Cup, which is co-sanctioned with the Asian Tour. This victory will earn him a two-year winner’s exemption on both the Asian Tour and the Japan Golf Tour.
  3. The Sobu Country Club was a very demanding course. This week’s top 12 players have a GIR average of only 49.31% while the average for the weekend field was 46.57%.
  4. Asaji’s GIR average stood at 48.61%. In his final round, Asaji missed five out of his last six greens in regulation but got them all up and down.
  5. The Asia-Pacific Diamond Cup was originally founded in 1973. The tournament’s history dates back to its early days when it was known as the Dunlop tournament. Since then, it has been renamed as the Mitsubishi Galant tournament (1977-1998), Mitsubishi Motors Tournament (1999-2000), Diamond Cup tournament (2001-2003), Mitsubishi Diamond Cup Golf (2004-2009), Diamond Cup Golf (2010-2013) and now, the Asia-Pacific Diamond Cup Golf.


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 turned professional in 2012. Prior to his breakthrough, his best result at the Asia-Pacific Diamond Cup came in 2017 when he finished tied-10th.
  • Asaji secured a spot at this week’s Asia-Pacific Diamond Cup when he topped the Monday Qualifiers where three spots were allocated for this week’s event.
  • Micah Lauren Shin is based in Davao and came through Qualifying School in 2017. He made his breakthrough that same year when he won the Resorts World Manila Masters.
  • Shin’s tournament winner’s exemption ends this season and he needs to finish inside the top-60 on the Order of Merit to keep his card.
  • Shin’s tied-second finish this week was his best result since his victory in Manila in 2017. His previous best results after his breakthrough were two top-10s in Hong Kong in 2017 and 2018.
  • In 2012, Lu Wei-chih underwent brain surgery to remove a non-malignant tumour which put him out of action for close to a year.
  • Although he posted only one top-10 in the subsequent seasons upon his return, Lu was simply relieved he could compete again after his major health scare.
  • All of Lu’s four victories on the Asian Tour have come from home soil in Chinese Taipei.
  • It was another top-10 finish for Scott Vincent after finishing fourth in Perth earlier this year.
  • Vincent came through Qualifying School in 2016. He did not miss a single cut in six tournaments that year and in 2017, he notched three top-three results to finish in 17th place on the Merit rankings to retain his playing rights.
  • He finished fifth on the Habitat for Humanity Standings in 2018, thanks to nine top-10 results – the most number of top-10s made by a player without a win last season.


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.

With lucrative events such as WGCs 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, currently ranked number 43 on the OWGR is already eligible for all the above events.

By Olle Nordberg, Former Asian Tour and European Tour professional


Last week’s dual events, the Volvo China Open and The 38th GS Caltex Maekyung Open Golf Championship, both provided some Sunday play-off drama and worthy champions.

At Genzon Golf Club in Shenzhen Mikko Korhonen of Finland defeated France’s Benjamin Hebert on the first extra hole with a birdie. With this win Korhonen goes to number 84 from 121, a new career-high ranking for him.

The Namseoul Country Club in Seoul saw local favourite Taehee Lee win a hard-fought battle against recent Asian Development Tour (ADT) graduate Janne Kaske of Finland on the third play-off hole, also by making a birdie. Lee rises to a new career-high OWGR ranking of 299 from 545, while Kaske improves his position to 518 from 801.

Of the players in position to gain access to the upcoming Majors via the OWGR, Justin Harding, Jazz Janewattananond and Shaun Norris all received Special Invitations for the PGA Championship at Bethpage Black next week by being inside the top 100 at the cut-off date May 5th.

In addition to the players above, Asian Tour members Kurt Kitayama and David Lipsky were also given Invitations to the second Major of the year even though they were outside of the top-100 at the deadline.

  • Justin Harding (RSA)


Harding had a week off tournament golf and remains at number 45 this week. Having already locked up his place in the PGA Championship for the second consecutive year, he also has a very good chance to secure an exemption to the US Open Championship at Pebble Beach Golf Links June 13 to 16.


The qualifying criteria for OWGR exemptions is to be inside the top-60 by either May 20th or June 10th, the two cut-off dates, and Harding looks very likely to secure one of these spots.


  • Jazz Janewattananond (THA)

Finishing in tied-19th place at the Volvo China Open, Jazz picks up 1.42 OWGR points and rises two places in the rankings to number 70 from 72 last week, tying his previous career high rank.

The next important step on the OWGR for him will be breaking into the top-60 for an exemption into the US Open Championship.

Jazz is not playing this week, opting instead to spend the time to get ready for the PGA Championship. A good finish there with all the OWGR points it has on offer would go a long way towards a top-60 ranking in time for the cut-off dates.


  • Shaun Norris (RSA)

Currently ranked number 98 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.

Norris managed to stay just inside the top-100 at the cut-off date for the PGA Championship despite missing the cut at last week’s Volvo China Open.

This will be Norris’s first start in a Major on US soil, and he is not playing this week’s Asia-Pacific Open Diamond Cup in preparation for next week.


  • Kurt Kitayama (USA)

Missing the cut at the Volvo China Open Kitayama slides four places in the rankings to 110 from 106 last week, however he still received a Special Invitation to next week’s PGA Championship which will be the first Major of his career.

Kitayama will be playing the British Masters Hosted by Tommy Fleetwood on the European Tour this week.


  • David Lipsky (USA)

A tied-fifth place in China last week means Lipsky moves up five spots in the OWGR rankings to 115 from 120 the previous week. He has been playing very good golf since his win at the Alfred Dunhill Championship last December, with back-to-back top-five results in his last two events and a tied-10th in the WGC-Mexico Championship earlier in February.

Like Kitayama above, he also received a Special Invitation to next week’s PGA Championship even though he was outside the top-100 at the cut-off date and it will be his first start in this Major Championship.

Lipsky will also be playing the British Masters in Southport, England this week.

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