08 November 2018: As the season winds down, Rahil Gangjee is out in Japan trying to force his way up the order. The 40 year old Indian won the Panasonic Open earlier this season to end a lengthy drought, earning the right to play in Japan. Gangjee got off to a two over 72 in the opening round of the Taiheiyo Masters. Shota Akiyoshi is ahead by two, after posting 64 on Thursday. Sang Hyun Park is lying second with a 66 to his name on the par-70 course.
Gangjee played off the tenth hole with Y E Yang and Brad Kennedy. He got off to a brilliant birdie to start the day. But Gangjee conceded bogeys at the 11th and 13th holes, courting trouble soon as he warmed his clubs into the first round.
He played pretty well from there on. Gangjee went bogey free through the rest of the round, nearly. After coasting safely through 13 holes, punctuated by a birdie at the third, the Indian conceded a double bogey at the ninth. It was his last hole for the day and essentially accounted for his two over par score.
Akiyoshi’s round was highlighted by an eagle at the par-5 third hole and five other birdies. Sanghyun Park made four birdies on the front nine, but back to back bogeys at ten and eleven negated the two more birdies he made on the way to the clubhouse.
Hideki is playing in Japan for the first time this season and the Japanese star draws large crowds on his home territory.
Keeping Gangjee company are Y E Yang and Prayad Marksaeng, who also made 72 in the opening round. Shaun Norris won the PGM Championship with an eagle on the final hole last week, but got off a shaky start today. The South African made four birdies, but also conceded a triple bogey on the 11th hole and two other bogeys in his 71.