A contingent of 12 Australians are in Japan this week ahead of the Asia-Pacific Panasonic Open which begins on Thursday. GA Rookie Squad members Cameron Smith and Kieran Pratt join Brendan Jones, David Gleeson, Marcus Both, Scott Barr, Wade Ormsby, Darren Beck, Unho Park, Brad Kennedy, Steve Conran and Scott Strange in the field. The prestigious event is hosted by the Asia-Pacific Golf Confederation, Panasonic Corporation and Japan Golf Association. Players will also be fighting to be inside the top-10 of the Order of Merit as of October 7 to qualify for the US$7 million CIMB Classic in Malaysia, which is sanctioned by the Asian Tour and PGA Tour. The leading two players on the rankings as of October 14, not otherwise exempt, will qualify for the US$8.5 million WGC-HSBC Champions in China. Kiradech has already qualified for the event by virtue of his victory at the Maybank Malaysian Open. Current Asian Tour Order of Merit leader Kiradech Aphibarnrat of Thailand, Yuta Ikeda of Japan, a 10-time winner on the Japan Golf Tour and former Asia-Pacific Panasonic Open champions Hideto Tanihara and Daisuke Maruyama will also feature at the Y150 million (approximately US$1.48 million) event sanctioned by the Asian Tour and Japan Golf Tour. Thai young gun Thitiphun Chuayprakong hopes the hard work and time put into practice and the gym will lead him to a first victory on the region s premier Tour which is celebrating its milestone 10th season in 2013. Thitiphun, known as Tote by his friends because he does things at his own pace, will aim to recover from the Yeangder TPC where he held the first round lead before going on to finish tied 21st. I worked hard during the break. I spent five to six hours practising golf and another hour and a half at the gym. I feel stronger now and I hope that this will help me win my first Asian Tour title, said the 21-year-old. Berry Henson of the United States enjoyed a successful Asian Tour debut in 2011 when he notched his first Asian Tour victory at the Philippine Open. After making several equipment changes, the American has finally found his preferred putter. The putter I had was great but it worked only on certain weeks. I found the putter that I really like right now. I ve been using that for most of the year and I ll continue to use that. If I can keep a hot putting streak then I will win my next title, said Henson, ranked 10th on the Order of Merit.
Author: Asia Pacific Panasonic Open