Se 28, 2019: Japan’s Toshinori Muto rode on a fast start to mark the day’s best score with a seven-under-par 64 and grab the outright lead by one shot following the penultimate round at the Panasonic OPEN Golf Championship on Saturday.
Overnight leader Rahil Gangjee had a rough day with five-over-76 and lying at T32. Ajeetesh Sandhu was the best placed Indian in the field with even-par 71 and placed at ninth position on the leaderboard. The only other Indian in the filed Viraj Madappa scored one-under-70 and lying at T56.
Starting the day with a two-shot deficit, Muto got off to a strong start with three birdies in his opening four holes. He dropped a shot on the sixth but would recover brilliantly with four straight birdies from the seventh before picking up another birdie on the last.
Muto, who had held a share of the opening round lead, regained his place atop the leaderboard with a three-day total of 14-under-par 199 while countryman Shugo Imahira takes second place, thanks to a closing eagle which helped him sign for a 66 at the Higashi Hirono Golf Club.
Asian Tour Order of Merit leader Jazz Janewattananond put himself in the title mix after bouncing back from a slow start to post a 66 at the ¥150,000,000 (approx. US$1,338,067) event, co-sanctioned by the Asian Tour and the Japan Golf Tour Organisation (JGTO).
The 23-year-old Thai stumbled with two bogeys in his opening five holes but rolled in seven birdies in his last 10 holes to grab a share of third place with Argentina’s Miguel Carballo (66) on matching 201s in the popular tournament, which is celebrating its 10th edition this week.
Apart from chasing for his fifth Asian Tour victory and a third win this season, Jazz is also in the running to top the 2018/19 Panasonic Swing, where he sits in third place with 2340.93 points. He needs at least a tied-fourth place finish at the Panasonic OPEN Golf Championship to have a chance to pip current leader Poom Saksansin to the title.
The Panasonic OPEN Golf Championship is the concluding leg of the 2018/19 Panasonic Swing. The Panasonic Swing is based on an aggregate point ranking earned by players at the following five tournaments – 2018 Thailand Open, 2018 Panasonic Open India, 2018 Indonesian Masters, 2019 Maybank Championship (Malaysia) and 2019 Panasonic Open Golf Championship (Japan).
The top-three finishers upon the conclusion of the 2019 Panasonic OPEN Golf Championship will share a bonus pool of US$150,000 where they will earn US$70,000, US$50,000 and US$30,000 respectively via the reward scheme.