September 2019 | Asian Tour

Jazz extends Merit lead and sweetens season with Panasonic Swing bonus win


Sentosa, Singapore, September 30: Young Thai talent Jazz Janewattananond extended his advantage at the top of the Asian Tour Order of Merit after capping a commendable fourth-place finish at the Panasonic OPEN Golf Championship on Sunday.

The 23-year-old picked up a cheque of US$64,227 to take his season’s earnings to US$833,524 from 13 events, increasing his lead to more than US$300,000 over second-placed Scott Hend of Australia, who missed the halfway cut at the Higashi Hirono Golf Club.

Jazz, who has already claimed two victories and six top-10 finishes, made his season even sweeter by winning the 2018/19 Panasonic Swing series following his commendable performance at the ¥150,000,000 (approx. US$1,338,067) event.

Starting the week in third place on the rankings, Jazz needed at least a tied-fourth place result to top the Panasonic Swing after compatriots Poom Saksansin and Panuphol Pittayarat, previously ranked first and second respectively, failed to make the weekend rounds.

Jazz battled with a cold putter on the final day but a crucial birdie on the 17th hole saw him close with a one-under-par 71 to take fourth place, eight shots back of winner Toshinori Muto of Japan on 13-under-par 271 total.

The young Thai took home a top bonus prize of US$70,000 after winning the second edition of the Panasonic Swing series with a total of 3,021 points from four of the five selected events, where he had all finished inside top-10.

“It’s an honor to win the Panasonic Swing. I didn’t even know I had a chance to win until the last minute. I think it’s a nice to see sponsors like Panasonic so committed to grow the game of golf. Their support has such a big impact on the Asian golf community,” said Jazz.

“The game is almost back on track. I wanted to finish better but I just couldn’t get the ball in the hole. You can’t really force the win if you are not putting well but overall, I’m happy with my result. A couple of big events coming up for me so this result will definitely help,” added the four-time Asian Tour winner.

Thai duo Poom Saksansin and Panuphol Pittayarat would secure second and third places on the final Panasonic Swing rankings, earning US$50,000 and US$30,000 respectively from the reward scheme.

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 Asian Tour returns to Chinese Taipei this week for the storied Mercuries Taiwan Masters, which will be held once again at the Taiwan Golf and Country Club from October 3 to 6. The prestigious tournament will offer an increased prize money of US$900,000 this year.

Top-20 players on the Habitat for Humanity Standings
Pos       Player   Order of Merit (US$)

1. Jazz JANEWATTANANOND (THA) $833,524.71

2. Scott HEND (AUS) $528,160.94

3. Yosuke ASAJI (JPN) $300,957.19

4. Taehee LEE (KOR) $284,661.95

5. Masahiro KAWAMURA (JPN) $260,100.96

6. Jbe KRUGER (RSA) $257,289.40

7. Scott VINCENT (ZIM) $242,216.34

8. Zach MURRAY (AUS) $221,011.92

9. Yikeun CHANG (KOR) $187,563.01

10. Micah Lauren SHIN (USA)             $187,218.98

11. Johannes VEERMAN (USA) $177,288.30

12. Sanghyun PARK (KOR) $167,502.45

13. David LIPSKY (USA) $137,309.79

14. Miguel CARBALLO (ARG) $125,615.96

15. Prom MEESAWAT (THA) $123,386.86

16. Sadom KAEWKANJANA (THA) $118,336.53

17. Janne KASKE (FIN) $114,708.67

18. Berry HENSON (USA) $106,792.21

19. Dongkyu JANG (KOR) $104,405.57

20. Richard T. LEE (CAN) $98,972.88


Catch up on all the highlights from the final round of the Panasonic OPEN Golf Championship.


Kobe, Japan, September 29: Japan’s Toshinori Muto collected his first Asian Tour title in style after closing with a second straight seven-under-par 64 to win by four shots at the Panasonic OPEN Golf Championship on Sunday.

The 41-year-old Muto halted a winless streak of four years after firing eight birdies against a bogey to cap a winning total of 21-under-par 263, setting a record lowest 72-hole score in the tournament that is celebrating its 10th edition this week.

Starting the day with a one-shot edge, Muto rode on his fine form to pull away from the chasing pack at the Higashi Hirono Golf Club. His four-shot triumph would also match the largest winning margin record in the tournament set earlier by Daisuke Maruyama in 2009.

Shugo Imahira, who entered the week as the second highest-ranked Japanese on the Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR), came in runner-up after closing with three straight birdies for a 67. Home favourite Ryo Ishikawa carded a commendable 66 to finish one shot back in third.

Asian Tour Order of Merit leader Jazz Janewattananond of Thailand battled to a 71 to finish in fourth place on 271. The result was enough to help him win the second edition of the Panasonic Swing series with 3,021 points and take home a top bonus prize of US$70,000.

Thai duo Poom Saksansin and Panuphol Pittayarat secured second and third places on the final Panasonic Swing rankings, earning US$50,000 and US$30,000 respectively from the reward scheme.

The ¥150,000,000 (approx. US$1,338,067) event, co-sanctioned by the Asian Tour and the Japan Golf Tour Organisation (JGTO), 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).

Did you know?

  • Toshinori Muto started playing golf when he was a kid. His family from his mother side owned a driving range back then.
  • The 41-year-old Muto turned professional in 2001. With this victory at the Panasonic OPEN Golf Championship, Muto is now a seven-time winner on the Japan Golf Tour. His last victory was the 2015 ISPS HANDA Global Cup.
  • Muto would take home a winner’s prize purse of ¥30,000,000 (approx. US$267,613), thanks to his victory at the Higashi Hirono Golf Club.
  • He is the second Japanese, following Yosuke Asaji, to win on the Asian Tour this season.
  • Muto successfully recaptured the trophy on home soil after India’s Rahil Gangjee became only the second foreign player to win the tournament last year.
  • Prior to this week, Muto was ranked 519th on the Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR). His career-best position was 102nd at the end of 2012.
  • Muto needed only 25 putts in his solid rounds of 64 today.
  • Shugo Imahira topped the Merit rankings on the Japan Golf Tour in 2018. He was a former member of the Asian Tour in 2016 and 2017.
  • He entered the week in 72nd place on the latest Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) as the second highest-ranked Japanese in the world. The 26-year-old, who hails from Saitama, is the highest-ranked Japanese in the 132-man field this week.
  • Imahira’s runner-up finish would mark his fourth consecutive top-10 finish on the Japan Golf Tour and second straight one on the Asian Tour.
  • Ryo Ishikawa won his first Japan Golf Tour event, the Munsingwear Open KSB Cup, when he was only 15 years 8 months and 3 days old.
  • The 28-year-old Ishikawa was playing that event as an amateur in his first Japan Golf Tour start, and winning the tournament made him the youngest winner ever on the Japan Golf Tour.
  • Ishikawa turned professional in 2008 and by the end of the year he had become the youngest ever player to reach the top 100 of the Official World Golf Rankings (OWGR), ending the year ranked 60th.
  • After a few years on the PGA Tour, Ishikawa returned to play full time on the Japan Golf Tour in 2018.
  • Ishikawa won this year’s Japan PGA Championship and Shigeo Nagashima Invitational SEGASAMMY Cup in consecutive starts on the Japan Golf Tour.
  • Jazz Janewattananond is the only player to have won more than once on the Asian Tour so far this season. He claimed his third title at the season-opening Singapore Open in January and secured his fourth victory at the Kolon Korea Open in June.
  • At the age of 23 years 6 months and 27 days, Jazz becomes the youngest ever player to achieve four wins on Tour. India’s Gaganjeet Bhullar held the record previously after he won his fourth title in 2012 at the age of 24.
  • Jazz entered the week in 60th position on the OWGR and he was the highest-ranked player in the talented field this week.
  • Apart from the two victories, Jazz has now notched six top-10 finishes on the Asian Tour this season, following his solo fourth result at the Panasonic OPEN Golf Championship. He would extend his lead on the Order of Merit with a season’s haul of US$833,524.
  • Jazz also enjoyed a tied-14th place finish at the PGA Championship in June which was the best-ever result achieved by a Thai player at the PGA Championship.

Kobe, Japan, September 29: Read what players have to say following the final round of the Panasonic OPEN Golf Championship on Sunday.

Toshinori Muto (Jpn) – Final round 64 (-7), Total 263 (-21)

I am really glad that I played well today. It has been four years. It is a really long time. After opening with two birdies, I started to play a little less aggressive. I felt my swing was loose. So I talked to my caddy and we discussed about what to do.

If I continue to play like that, with a loose swing, other players will be able to spot my weakness. So starting from the sixth hole, we decided to just go for the pins and try to make birdies.

I have been working with my caddy, Oda, for 12 years. He knows what I am thinking. He knows it when my mental game is not there or when I am losing concentration. He kept me focused and I did that on the back nine to win the tournament.

I know Ryo Ishikawa was chasing, by listening to the spectators’ cheers. But I told myself to just play my game. Some players tell me that I am too aggressive sometimes, always aiming the pins, but this is my style and I am glad that I am here right now with the trophy. 

Shugo Imahira (Jpn) – Final round 67 (-4), Total 267 (-17)

I tried to catch up today but I made a mistake on the seventh hole where i pulled the shot. That was something I should not have done. But other than that, I played my best. Muto was just too aggressive making birdies, I couldn’t stop him.

Score wise, I am happy. But I am not satisfied with my shots today. Before Muto makes mistake, I made mistake with on the seventh and ended up with a double-bogey. I was playing against the wind, tried hitting an eight-iron from 143 yards but pulled that shot.

It was a difficult approach, there was a small mound behind the ball. I have to hit the ball high, but hit the club a little too strong. It was a good finish with three straight birdies. I hope this result will boost my game and I can do better in the next tournament.

Ryo Ishikawa (Jpn) – Final round 66 (-5), Total 268 (-16)

Whether I can win the tournament or not really depends on how Muto plays today. I played good and scored a 66 but he played even better. I tried my best and that is what you need to do. It has been a good week and I am sure this result will help me in my game in future.

This is a course that I have difficulties playing in the past. So I am really pleased with how I finished on this course this week.

Muto played well. I was actually aiming for 20-under. But I know now that even if I made it to 20-under, I won’t be able to catch up. He shot another seven-under again today. That’s really impressive. I know Muto’s game. When he gets into the zone, no one can stop him.

Jazz Janewattananond (Tha) – Final round 70 (-1), Total 271 (-13)

It’s an honor to win the Panasonic Swing. I didn’t even know I had a chance to win until the last minute. I think it’s a nice to see sponsors like Panasonic trying to grow the game of golf. Their support has such a big impact on the Asian golf community.

The game is almost back on track. You know I haven’t posted a good finish in a while, but today it seems like I almost got it. I just couldn’t get the round I wanted, couldn’t get the ball in the hole. You can’t really force the win if you are not putting well but overall, I’m pretty happy with my result.

I have been trying to get my game back on track before the three big tournaments coming up – the CJ Cup, the ZOZO Championship and the WGC-HSBC Champions. I feel it’s coming back and I am happy to post a good result this week before these big events.


Scotland, September 29: Korea’s Jeunghun Wang carded an impressive six-under-par 66 at The Old course at St. Andrews to move within five shots of the lead in tied-ninth place on Saturday.

Wang, a one-time Asian Tour winner, opened his campaign with a 70 at Carnoustie and a 65 at Kingsbarns Golf Links before firing seven birdies against a bogey at the Home of Golf to cap a 15-under-par 201 total.

American Johannes Veerman slipped to tied-32nd place after battling to a 70 to trail by nine shots while his compatriot John Catlin settled a further shot back in tied-40th place following a 69.

Ends.



Kobe, Japan, September 28: Read what players have to say following the penultimate round of the Panasonic OPEN Golf Championship on Saturday.

Toshinori Muto (Jpn) – Third round 64 (-7), Total 199 (-14)

I started off really well. I had some chances on the back nine as well but couldn’t convert. I won’t complain with the score today. I made a good par on the 17th hole. I was too aggressive on the sixth, left myself a long putt to make and ended up three-putting for bogey.

I was trying for an eagle on the last. I hit a good stroke but didn’t make the putt. I a still satisfied with birdie. I want to play like this again tomorrow. If I can do that, I will have a good chance. Unless someone came up and shoot like a nine-under.

My tee shots have been good and my putting too. I just need to make sure I read the correct lines on the greens. I will try to play cautiously but confidently tomorrow. My daughter came to cheer me on today. It was good motivation.

I am glad I was able to play my ‘A’ game today. I am looking forward to the final test tomorrow. I have to try harder. I am only leading by one shot but it’s better than nothing. I will try not to think about the score and about the win. I just want to keep making birdies. We’ll see how it goes tomorrow.

Shugo Imahira (Jpn) – Third round 66 (-5), Total 200 (-13)

I hit a perfect second shot. I was riding on a good momentum out there. I was hoping to birdie the last hole but to get that eagle was great. I bogeyed the first but made a good birdie right after. That calmed me down. My shots were pretty good all week and I putted well today.

I am looking forward to play in the final group tomorrow and to put myself in a good position and give myself a chance to win tomorrow. I have struggled in the final rounds recently so I will need to make a lot of birdies tomorrow to have a chance.

I will try not to think about winning. Just keep playing my game. The aim is to shoot my best round this week tomorrow. If I can play my own game, I will have a chance.

 Jazz Janewattananond (Tha) – Third round 66 (-5), Total 201 (-12)

I started off really shaky today and managed to get it back again. I had some lucky shots out there. I made a couple of long putts. I probably had two long putts that I wouldn’t make usually, but they came at the right time. I would say the birdie on 10 got my round going.

I couldn’t hit anything to the green. I kept missing greens. Couldn’t give myself a chance out there. But after the front nine, I kind of figured out what I needed to do and then I kind of fixed it, so we’ll see what happens tomorrow.

Miguel Carballo (Arg) – Third round 66 (-5), Total 201 (-12)

I played very well today. It was a perfect day. I gave myself a lot of opportunities to make birdies. The wind was swirling on the last, I had like 86 yards to the pin and I hit to the edge of the green. Had an uphill putt about five yards from there and made it. It was a good finish.

I had a good chip-in for par today as well. It was pretty similar to the last two rounds, just that the winds were picking on the last three holes. But the course is still in a good condition. I thought it was important for me to play under-par today because it will put me in a good position for tomorrow. I managed to do that.

My game is feeling good. I feel very confident right now. This is a difficult course. You can’t really hit it into the rough. I putted well today. Didn’t play my driver well on a few holes but overall, it was alright because I still got a good position in the rough.

It’s my first time in Japan. I am loving it here. The course condition is perfect. I really enjoy playing here. This is my second year playing on the Asian Tour. I have played four years on the Korn Ferry Tour and the PGA TOUR before. I have also played in Europe as well.

I think I have played on eight different Tours throughout my career. Those were great experiences for me. But I feel it’s the same everywhere, it’s just you playing against the course. If your game is good, it doesn’t matter where you are. You worked hard everywhere you are.

I just want to stay relaxed for tomorrow. The goal is to try and play under-par. But the most important thing is to stay focused and not think about the results.


Kobe, Japan, September 28: 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.

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.

Did you know?

  • Toshinori Muto started playing golf when he was a kid. His family from his mother side owned a driving range back then.
  • The 41-year-old Muto turned professional in 2001 and is a six-time winner on the Japan Golf Tour. His last victory was the 2015 ISPS HANDA Global Cup, and he recorded his career-biggest win at the 2011 Dunlop Phoenix.
  • Muto is currently ranked 519th on the Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR). His career-best position was 102nd at the end of 2012.
  • Muto missed only two greens in his solid round of 64 today.
  • Shugo Imahira topped the Merit rankings on the Japan Golf Tour in 2018. He was a former member of the Asian Tour in 2016 and 2017.
  • He sits in 72nd place on the latest Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) as the second highest-ranked Japanese. The 26-year-old, who hails from Saitama, is the highest-ranked Japanese in the 132-man field this week.
  • Imahira sank a four-footer for eagle on the last hole 18th to sign for a 66 and grab second place. He dropped only three shots so far this week.
  • Jazz Janewattananond is the only player to have won more than once on the Asian Tour so far this season. He claimed his third title at the season-opening Singapore Open in January and secured his fourth victory at the Kolon Korea Open in June.
  • Jazz needed only 11 putts on back 9, where he only missed 1 green, in his solid round of 66.
  • At the age of 23 years 6 months and 27 days, Jazz becomes the youngest ever player to achieve four wins on Tour. India’s Gaganjeet Bhullar held the record previously after he won his fourth title in 2012 at the age of 24.
  • Jazz is the highest-ranked player in the talented 132-man field this week. He leads the current Asian Tour Order of Merit and is ranked 60th on the latest Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR).
  • Apart from the two victories, Jazz has also notched five top-10 finishes on the Asian Tour this season.
  • Jazz also enjoyed a tied-14th place finish at the PGA Championship in June which was the best-ever result achieved by a Thai player at the PGA Championship.
  • Miguel Carballo claimed his Asian Tour breakthrough at the Indonesia Open one month ago. Prior to that victory, he has never made the cut in six starts on the Asian Tour this season.
  • Carballo is the second Argentinian to win on the Asian Tour following Angel Cabrera’s victory at the 2007 Barclays Singapore Open.
  • Carballo won the Asian Development Tour (ADT) Order of Merit in 2018 to secure a card for this year’s Asian Tour season.
  • A two-time champion on the ADT, Carballo won the Singha Laguna Phuket Open in 2019 and the Ciputra Golfpreneur Tournament in 2018.
  • Carballo is playing in Asia for the second year running. It is his first trip to Japan this week. He dropped only two shots so far this week.
  • Since turning pro in 2002 the 40-year-old Argentinian has also won twice on the Korn Ferry Tour, the 2007 Movistar Panama Championship and the 2011 Children’s Hospital Classic. 
  • His best year on that Tour was in 2011 when he finished 10th on the Money List securing a card for the 2012 PGA Tour, where he also played in 2014 and 2016-2017.
  • The lowest winning score of the Panasonic OPEN Golf Championship was set by Japan’s Masanori Kaboyashi with a 17-under-par 267 total in 2012 at the Higashi Hirono Golf Club.

After the halfway cut of the Panasonic OPEN Golf Championship there are only five players who can challenge points-leader Poom Saksansin for the top spot: Jazz Janewattananond, Suradit Yongcharoenchai, Ajeetesh Sandhu, Viraj Madappa and Scott Vincent.

The two leading players, Poom Saksansin and Panuphol Pittayarat, both missed the cut and will not be earning any points this week, which leaves the door open for Jazz who was in third place in the standings coming into this week.

The Order of Merit leader needs at least a tied-fourth with only one player to have a chance to clinch the Panasonic Swing title, and he is currently close to that mark. After rounds of 66 and 69 Jazz is tied for sixth place on seven-under-par, two shots behind the leader.

The other four players all need to win the tournament to surpass Poom’s points-total, and it is Ajeetesh Sandhu who has the best outlook for the weekend. With a round of 66 in the second round that included a hole-in-one on the 11th hole to go with a 69 on Thursday, he is also tied for sixth with Jazz on seven-under-par.

Suradit Yongcharoenchai has much more work to do on the weekend if he wants to win the title, as his two-day total of two-under-par currently puts him seven shots out of the lead in tied-35th place.

Viraj Madappa and Scott Vincent still have a mathematical chance to win the Panasonic Swing with a victory, but having made the cut just on the number at even par and in tied-58th makes it a big challenge for this weekend.


Scotland, September 28: American Johannes Veerman carded a spectacular nine-under-par 63 at the Kingsbarns Golf Links to grab a share of 21st place following the second round of the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship on Friday.

The 27-year-old Veerman, who opened his campaign with a 72 at Carnoustie, sensationally fired two eagles and six birdies against a lone bogey to trail halfway leader Matthew Jordan of England by five shots with a nine-under-par 135 total.

Korea’s Jeunghun Wang returned with a bogey-free 65, highlighted by seven birdies, on the same venue to match the overall efforts of Veerman while Thai star Kiradech Aphibarnrat also kept the blemishes off his card as he signed for a 66 at Carnoustie to tie in 33rd place on 136.

American trio Berry Henson, David Lipsky and John Catlin, as well as India’s Gaganjeet Bhullar, were among those bunched a further shot back in 42nd position following rounds of 69-Old course, 64-Kingsbarns, 65-Kingsbarns and 68-Old course respectively.

Over at the Safeway Open on the PGA TOUR, Anirban Lahiri of India unfortunately missed the halfway cut by one shot after signing for a one-under-par 71 at the Silverado Resort and Spa (North) in Napa, California.

Ends.

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