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Fearless Jazz continues to entertain at the PGA Championship


Bethpage, New York, May 19: Rising star Jazz Janewattananond of Thailand continued to exceed his own expectations as he signed for a three-under-par 67 to move into a share of second place following the penultimate round of the PGA Championship on Saturday.

The 23-year-old Jazz, a three-time Asian Tour winner, fired five birdies against two bogeys to trail leader Brooks Koepka by seven shots with a three-day total of five-under-par 205 at the Bethpage Black course.

Jazz, who thought he would struggle to break 80 after seeing the course on Monday, surprised himself by capping three rounds no worse than par in his debut appearance at the PGA Championship, which is also his second Major tournament.

“It was raining when I arrived here on Monday and it was raining on Tuesday as well. The course was playing so tough because the rough was so long. I was having a nightmare. How am I going to play this golf course? I’m not going to break 80. But this (to move into a share of second place) has exceeded my expectations already,” said Jazz.

Jazz, placed 72nd on the Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) and second on the Asian Tour Habitat for Humanity Standings, got off to a fast start with three birdies in his first six holes before curling in a tricky 13-foot birdie putt on the 10th.

Despite dropping two shots on 14 and 17, Jazz recovered brilliantly with a closing birdie on the par-four 18th, where he found the green in two before rolling in a nine-footer.

“This is my first time on the East Coast, and it’s next level. It’s so different. I love it. People keep shouting love you. They love me here,” added Jazz, who got into contention with Jack Miller, a frozen foods manager at a local grocery store, on his bag.

Jazz became the youngest player to make the halfway cut on the Asian Tour when he was still an amateur at the age of 14. He lost his Asian Tour card for the first time in his career after finishing outside of top-60 on the Order of Merit in 2016.

The young Thai, however, went for a two-week stint as a monk when he turned 21 years old that December and returned to claim his first Asian Tour victory in Bangladesh two months later. Jazz has added two more victories since and made his Major debut at The Open last July.

Jazz, who will play alongside American Luke List in the second last group on Sunday, is expected to break into the top-50 in the world if he finishes fourth or better at the PGA Championship. A solo fifth place finish will get him close.

Ends.

 


Bethpage, New York, May 18: Thailand’s Jazz Janewattananond continued his remarkable debut at the PGA Championship by signing for a second round two-under-par 68 to take a share of 10th place on Friday.

Jazz, who is playing on a special exemption at the year’s second Major, showed no signs of nerve as he took on the world’s best players at the demanding Bethpage Black course.

After opening with a 70, the three-time Asian Tour winner, resumed his charge by marking his card with three birdies and a bogey for a two-day total of two-under-par 138, 10 shots back of American history-maker, Brooks Koepka, who recorded the lowest 36-hole score in a Major championship after he signed for a 65.

“I didn’t feel any pressure on the golf course. I love it (playing here). It’s my first time playing in such a crowd and hearing them shout my name. I don’t know how to react to it. They give me some really funny names but I try not to remember it,”said Jazz.

While he may only be playing at Bethpage Black for the first time, Jazz is already putting his limited knowledge of the course to good use.

“If you’re in the rough here, you just got to take your medicine. You’ve to try to get it back to the fairways with a short iron. You have to be patient and try your best not to get a bogey. That’s all I need to know,” said Jazz.

American Kurt Kitayama, a one-time Asian Tour winner, safely made it into the weekend rounds after returning with a 68 to take a share of 47th place.

Thailand’s Kiradech Aphibarnrat, together with 2014 Asian Tour Order of Merit champion, David Lipsky and South Africa’s Justin Harding are also through after they made the cut which was set at four-over par.

South Africa’s Shaun Norris meanwhile made the early exit after posting rounds of 73 and 74.

Ends.

ROUND ONE REPORT

 

Bethpage, New York, May 17: Thailand’s Jazz Janewattananond opened his campaign with an even-par 70 to trail defending champion American Brooks Koepka by seven shots in the first round of the PGA Championship on Thursday.

The 23-year-old Thai, playing on a special exemption on the PGA TOUR this week, took a share of 17th place along with American David Lipsky, who matched Jazz’s opening day efforts at the challenging Bethpage Black course.

Jazz, a three-time Asian Tour winner, traded three birdies against as many bogeys to finish two shots ahead of reigning Masters champion Tiger Woods (72) who sits in tied-51st.

Koepka, who is looking to become first player to successfully defend a PGA title since Woods did in 2007, set the course record with his spectacular bogey-free round of 63.

South Africa’s Shaun Norris posted a 73 to take tied-74th place while countryman Justin Harding sits in tied-91st alongside American Kurt Kitayama on matching 74s.

Thailand’s number one player Kiradech Aphibarnrat, who is making his sixth appearance at this week’s Major, struggled to a 76 to take tied-123rd place.

Ends.


Sentosa, Singapore, May 15: Thailand’s Kiradech Aphibarnrat will lead the Asian Tour charge at the PGA Championship as he hits top form in time for the year’s second Major which starts on Thursday.

Kiradech, the first Thai to earn his full playing rights on the PGA TOUR, is coming off a tied-fifth result at the AT&T Byron Nelson last week which moved him up two rungs from 43 to 41 place on the Official World Golf Rankings (OWGR). He will make his sixth appearance at this week’s Major.

South Africa’s Justin Harding, who enjoyed his first top-10 finish on the PGA TOUR on Sunday, will also feature alongside Kiradech at the challenging Bethpage Black course in Long Island, New York.

Debutants Jazz Janewattananond of Thailand, Shaun Norris of South Africa and Americans Kurt Kitayama and David Lipsky will also be part of the new wave of contenders hoping to hoist the Wanamaker trophy at the 101st staging of the prestigious event.

Ranked first in the field in putting statistics last week and third overall on the PGA TOUR with a 0.974 strokes gained putting average, the 29-year-old Thai proved his game was on song with his hot putter despite battling a knee injury he incurred at The Masters last month.

“I just kept seeing the ball roll to the line and matched the speed. Heading into the PGA Championship week, I will just keep doing what I am doing and hopefully it will be my week,” said Kiradech.

The burly Thai claimed his third Asian Tour victory in February last year which ended a three-year title drought on Tour. He had a stellar 2018 with two top-five finishes at the World Golf Championships and a career-best Major result of 15th place at the U.S. Open.

Hoping to improve on his tied-25th finish at the PGA Championship in 2013, which was also the first-ever cut he made in a Major, Kiradech will adopt the same carefree mindset which led him to his third top-five finish of the 2018/19 PGA TOUR season.

“When I played last week, I just tried to enjoy the game and get the feel of the ball. It was quite a surprise to me to get a good result. I will try and have the same game plan and play freely. It is such a great feeling and I just want to enjoy every step,” added Kiradech.

After taking a week off to prepare for his first appearance at the PGA Championship, Jazz, who is currently 72nd on the OWGR, will have his sights set on a top-10 finish to propel him into the top-60 in order to qualify for the U.S. Open Championship by the cut-off date.

The 23-year-old Thai already has an impressive season with one victory and four top-10 finishes in the bag and he will be hoping to carry over that momentum into this week.

“My goal before this week was to get my momentum going in time for the PGA Championship because I haven’t been playing that well lately and I feel I can do better.

“I missed the cut at the Hero Indian Open by one shot but I made the cut at the Volvo China Open and I need momentum like that to be on form,” added Jazz.

The PGA Championship is the second of four annual Major events on the golfing calendar and this year would be the first time since 1949 that the event is held in May.

 

 


May 14: Here’s what Yosuke Asaji had in his bag when he won the Asia-Pacific Diamond Cup.

Driver: ON OFF Power Trench 10*                                             Shaft: Graphite Design Tour AD DI 7 X

Fairway1: ON OFF Fairway ARMS 15*                                     Shaft: Graphite Design Tour AD DI 7 X

Fairway2: ON OFF Fairway ARMS 18*                                      Shaft: Fujikura Speeder TR 757 X

Hb1: ON OFF Fairway WINGS 21*                                              Shaft: Nippon Shaft Modus 3

Hb2: ON OFF Fairway WINGS 24*                                              Shaft: Nippon Shaft Modus 3

Irons: ON OFF Forged (5-9)                                                           Shaft: Nippon Shaft Modus 3 125 X

Wedge1: ON OFF Forged 48*

Wedge2: ON OFF Forged 52*

Wedge3: Juice Prototype 58*

Putter: Odyssey Mystery Milled SIX M 79.16.22.68

Ball: Titleist Pro V1 (2019)

Shoe: FootJoy

Cap: ON OFF

Bag: ON OFF

Glove: FootJoy

 

Note: No 3-4 Iron


Chiba prefecture, Japan, May 11: Japan’s Yosuke Asaji will take a one-shot lead into the final round of the Asia-Pacific Diamond Cup after he posted a three-under-par 68 at the Sobu Country Club on Saturday.

The 25-year-old Japanese is seeking his first professional win since joining the play-for-pay ranks in 2011 and knows he has to stay on top of his game despite taking the third round lead with his three-day total of four-under-par 209.

New Zealand’s Denzel Ieremia, who comes from a family of sporting stars, made his move by firing a flawless 66 to share second place with Micah Lauren Shin of the United States.

Shin lost grip of his overnight lead after marking his card with two birdies, one bogey and a double bogey for a 72.

Zimbabwean Scott Vincent meanwhile returned with a 68 to give himself another chance for his maiden breakthrough on the Asian Tour.

Vincent, together with Korea’s Y.E. Yang, and Japan’s Jinichiro Kozuma are bunched in fourth place, three shots back of Asaji.

The Asia-Pacific Diamond Cup is 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. His best result at the Asia-Pacific Diamond Cup came in 2017 when he finished tied-10th.
  • Asaji’s best result since turning professional came in 2018 when he finished tied-fourth at the Kansai Open Golf Championship on the JGTO.
  • Denzel Ieremia comes from a rich sporting family where his uncle, Alama is a famous All Black.
  • Ieremia graduated with a finance degree from the Iowa State University and turned professional in February this year.
  • He played rugby when I was younger but claims he ‘was too small and everybody smashed me’ and decided to play golf instead.
  • 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.
  • Scott 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.
  • The winner of the Asia-Pacific Diamond Cup will qualify for The 148th Open which will be held at Royal Portrush, Northern Ireland in July.

Ends.


Yosuke Asaji (Jpn) Third round 68 (-3), Total 209 (-4)

Anything can happen on this golf course. So even if I’m leading by one shot, anything can still happen. You got to be really patient here and be really sharp with your driving. If not, it will cost you. They are many good players here this week and you have to be on top of your game. It’s great to see the crowd coming out to watch the event and I’m looking forward to the final day tomorrow.

Micah Lauren Shin (Usa) Third round 72 (+1), Total 210 (-3)

The course is obviously very tough and I’m just trying to hang in there for as long as I can. I’m just trying to play the best I can. I’m just one shot back. But I don’t want to think too much about it and just play well. I was hitting it very badly today and just didn’t get into the right spots. Hopefully, tomorrow will be better.

Denzel Ieremia (Nzl) Third round 66 (-5), Total 210 (-3)

It was a solid. I hit the driver pretty good and long which gave me a lot of birdie chances the last few days. Mentally, it has been cool and I’m just enjoying the week. This is the hardest course I’ve played as it’s very demanding off the tee and if you miss the fairways, it going to be very hard to get it onto the greens.  It requires all aspects of your game to be good. I was very lucky to get an invitation from APGC (Asia Pacific Golf Confederation). This is my first time in Japan and I’m just enjoying the week.

Scott Vincent (Zim) Third round 68 (-3), Total 212 (-1)

I putted really well and gave myself a lot of good chances and managed to make quite a few putts out there today. I didn’t hit it particularly well but just managed it really well, put myself in places where I could make a play. So I’m very happy with how the day went. This is probably one of the hardest courses I have ever played so you have to bring your A-game. I just got to play solid and steady tomorrow. If I can do a lot of the things I did today I’ll have a good chance, so tomorrow is going to be a good battle out there and hopefully I can play some good golf.


Chiba prefecture, Japan, May 10: Micah Lauren Shin of the United States fired a sublime four-under-par 67 to take over the lead from Thailand’s Danthai Boonma after the second round of the Asia-Pacific Diamond Cup on Friday.

With the course conditions at the Sobu Country Club playing to his advantage, Shin was in his element as he marked his flawless card with four birdies for a two-day total of four-under-par 138 to take the second day’s honours.

Boonma, who held the overnight lead, looked to have fallen out of contention when he struggled to an outward 40.

The Thai however, rallied back strongly with two birdies in his last two holes to sign for a 73, moving into a share of second place with Australia’s Brendan Jones, Japan’s Tomoyo Ikemura and Korea’s Y.E. Yang.

A proven winner in Japan, Jones knows that anything can happen despite heading into the weekend just two shots back of Shin.

The Australian has been playing regularly in Japan since 2001 and won his 15th title in Nagoya last month.

The weekend cut was set at four-over par with 60 players making it into the final two rounds.

The Asia-Pacific Diamond Cup is 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?

  • Micah Lauren Shin is a Korean-American. His grandparents are Americans while his mother is half-American.
  • 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.
  • Danthai Boonma made his breakthrough on the Asian Tour by winning the World Classic Championship in Singapore in 2015.
  • Danthai has already won twice this year. He won a domestic event in Khon Kaen in February and followed up that victory with another on the Japan Challenge Tour in April.
  • Danthai ended his 2018 season in 23rd place on the Asian Tour Order of Merit and finished tied-23rd in Korea last week.
  • He made his Major debut at The Open last year and has also won two gold medals at the 2012 South East Asia (SEA) Games. The Thai was also a bronze medalist at the 2014 Summer Youth Olympics.
  • Y.E Yang is the only Asia-born male to have won a Major.
  • He overcame a two-shot deficit going into the final round to finish three shots ahead of Tiger Woods, his playing partner and win the PGA Championship in 2009.
  • Yang’s last victory came last year when he won The Crowns on the JGTO.
  • Brendan Jones is a multiple winner in Japan and has been playing regularly there since 2001.
  • The Australian’s 15th and latest win on the JGTO came at the Token Homemate Cup in Nagoya last month.

Ends.


Micah Lauren Shin (Usa) Second round 67 (-4), Total 138 (-4)

I have a new driver and putter in the bag and it has been working out pretty well. I drove the ball really well on this course. I actually like to play on faster greens and I think they work out really well for me. I try not to think too much about it (winning and keeping my card) because I know I can play well as long as everything clicks.

Danthai Boonma (Tha) Second round 73 (+2), Total 140 (-2)

The first thing you have to focus on this course is your tee shot and hitting the ball onto the fairway. But today on the first nine holes I hit the driver very badly. On 14, I hit it right and had to lay up and then I made a bogey. Before that I three-putted 13.  I made a birdie on 17  but on 18 I hit a bad shot off the tee again into the right trees, I tried to lay up in the fairway but can’t because it was too close to the trees and I made a double bogey there.

I shot four-over on the front-nine and was a little nervous then. I knew I had to focus and get back to my game I got back to the basics and kept my focus. On the last two holes, I was back to hitting my driver well again, so that was why on the second shot I can attack the green and pin.

On the last hole I hit the fairway again and had only 70 yards to the pin and made a birdie from the back.

Brendan Jones (Aus) Second round 72 (+1), Total 140 (-2)

This course is brutal. There’s no let up at all. They got the fairways cut so short and we are playing from the rough quite a lot because it’s hard to hit these fairways. I played the first nine holes really well and didn’t do much wrong. But the second nine was pretty ugly. There was a lot of scrambling and I lost my rhythm and was just trying to make pars. Anything can happen on this golf course. I just got to continue to play as smart as I’ve been and give myself a chance on Sunday.

Jinichiro Kozuma (Jpn) Second round 67 (-4), Total 141 (-1)

I’m very pleased with my comeback. I shot a 74 yesterday and it was a good fightback. I told myself not to give up and try again when I stepped back to the tee this morning. While it may not be as windy as yesterday, the conditions are still very challenging. You got to be very accurate with your driving and putting. I did well in those areas and I look forward to the weekend.

K.T. Kim (Kor) Second round 70 (-1), Total 143 (+1)

It’s good to be able to shoot a better score than yesterday. I was two-over yesterday but managed to do better today. It was very windy yesterday but today, the conditions were better. However, you still need to be accurate off the tee as the fairways are very narrow here. The greens are very fast and you have to be sharp with your putting. Of course, I would like to win this tournament again. There are many good players here so let’s see what happens over the weekend.


Chiba prefecture, Japan, May 10: Japan’s Jinichiro Kozuma took advantage of the benign morning conditions by firing a four-under-par 67 to move up the leaderboard after the second round of the Asia-Pacific Diamond Cup on Friday.

The 34-year-old, who is seeking his first professional win, struggled under gusty conditions on the opening day to post a 74.

However, he hauled himself back into contention by marking his card with four birdies, an eagle and two bogeys before signing for a one-under-par 141 at the Sobu Country Club.

“I’m very pleased with my comeback. I shot a 74 yesterday and it was a good fightback. I told myself not to give up and try again when I stepped back to the tee this morning.

“While it may not be as windy as yesterday, the conditions are still very challenging. You got to be very accurate with your driving and putting. I did well in those areas and I look forward to the weekend,” said the Japanese.

Korea’s K.T. Kim also bettered his opening 73 with an improved 70 to stay in contention for his hat-trick of victories at the Asia-Pacific Diamond Cup, having won the event in 2010 and 2015.

Kim mixed his outward-nine with one birdie against eight par for a 35. He dropped a shot on four before recovering with a pair of birdies on holes five and six.

The Korean dropped another shot on his closing par-four nine to sign for a 70.

“It’s good to be able to shoot a better score than yesterday. I was two-over yesterday but managed to do better today. It was very windy yesterday but today, the conditions were better. However, you still need to be accurate off the tee as the fairways are very narrow here.

“The greens are very fast and you have to be sharp with your putting. Of course, I would like to win this tournament again. There are many good players here so let’s see what happens over the weekend,” said Kim.

The Asia-Pacific Diamond Cup is 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.

Ends.


Chiba prefecture, Japan, May 9: Thailand’s Danthai Boonma laid down the early marker when he opened with a flawless four-under-par 67 to take the first round lead under blustery conditions at the Asia-Pacific Diamond Cup on Thursday.

On a day where only 12 out of 144 players broke par, Danthai emerged as the leader of the pack when he marked his card with two birdies and an eagle to stay ahead at the Sobu Country Club.

The Thai, a one-time Asian Tour winner, has already won twice this year with victories coming from a domestic event in February and on the Japan Challenge Tour last month.

Australia’s Brendan Jones remained a threat to Danthai’s title ambitions as he trails the Thai by one after signing for a 68 to share second place with Japan’s Tomoyo Ikemura.

The experienced Australian is no stranger to success in Japan, holding multiple wins in the Land of the Rising Sun, with the latest coming only last month in Nagoya.

Asia’s first Major winner, Y.E. Yang of Korea returned with a 69 to take tied-fourth place while Thailand’s Prayad Marksaeng, Prom Meesawat together with Philippines’ Miguel Tabuena and Japan’s Shugo Imahira are bunched in equal ninth place after they posted matching 70s.

The Asia-Pacific Diamond Cup is 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?

  • Danthai Boonma made his breakthrough on the Asian Tour by winning the World Classic Championship in Singapore in 2015.
  • Danthai has already won twice this year. He won a domestic event in Khon Kaen in February and followed up that victory with another on the Japan Challenge Tour in April.
  • Danthai ended his 2018 season in 23rd place on the Asian Tour Order of Merit and finished tied-23rd in Korea last week.
  • He made his Major debut at The Open last year and has also won two gold medals at the 2012 South East Asia (SEA) Games. The Thai was also a bronze medalist at the 2014 Summer Youth Olympics.
  • Brendan Jones is a multiple winner in Japan and has been playing regularly there since 2001.
  • The Australian’s 15th and latest win on the JGTO came at the Token Homemate Cup in Nagoya last month.
  • Prayad Marksaeng is one of Thailand’s most successful golfers with 10 Asian Tour victories.
  • He was a member of Thailand’s winning golf team at the 1987 South East Asian (SEA) Games and turned professional in 1991.
  • Prayad has won multiple times in Japan and started playing on the Japan Senior Tour after turning 50 in 2016.
  • He topped the Merit rankings on the Japan Senior Tour in 2016 (Four wins), 2017 (Four wins) and 2018 (Five wins).
  • Philippines’ Miguel Tabuena only returned to competitive golf last week in China. He suffered a back injury and was forced to withdraw from events in Malaysia and India.
  • Tabuena is a two-time Asian Tour winner. He clinched his second Tour title at the Queen’s Cup hosted by Jaidee Foundation last year.

Ends.

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