Japan Tour returns in Hokkaido
BY Bruce Young | Japan Tour | 2010 Sega Sammy Cup | Preview | 21 Jul 2010
The Japan Golf Tour took a week of last week while the Open Championship was being played in Scotland but returns to action this week for the Nagashima Shigeo Invitational Sega Sammy Cup at the North Country Golf Club near Sapporo on the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido.
The tournament is the first of two to be played in consecutive weeks in Hokkaido with the Sun Chlorella event played next week just a little further north.
The return of Ryo Ishikawa to the Japan Golf Tour provides a great boost for the event and indeed for next week’s Sun Chlorella event where he will defend. Ishikawa finished 10th in this event last year after what had been a slow start and this week follows up a 27th place finish last Sunday at St Andrews.
After his final round of 58 to win the Crowns Tournament earlier this year, Ishikawa has been a little disappointing by his standards on the domestic scene but he has been globetrotting to take advantage of the status he now has in world golf. He has access to almost everything he chooses to play in the game now and given the demands for him to play in Japan it must be increasingly difficult to pace and place himself.
Ishikawa will play next week’s event and then head to the US for the World Golf Championship event in Ohio and the PGA and so by the time the PGA is over he will be looking for a break.
The prize-money over the two weeks in Hokkaido is strong and the fields for both therefore are amongst the strongest on the Japan Golf Tour. Ishikawa is the people’s choice this week but there are many others who have played better in recent weeks who could dispute favouritism with the teenage superstar.
Hiroyuki Fujita is the defending champion and also heads the Japan Golf Tour money list in 2010. He won the Tsuruya Open earlier in the season and has recorded several other good finishes since. He missed the cut last week in Scotland but that might work in his favour given that he will have had more time to prepare for his title defence.
Toru Taniguchi is another who has played very well this season having won once and being twice second. He did make the cut at the Open Championship and has regularly played this event well including when winning in 2007.
23 year old Korean star Kim Kyung-tae is having a great season in 2010 winning in Japan and playing well on the OneAsia Tour. Kim appears destined for big things in the game and this provides a great chance to provide further proof of that.
The Australasians are headed by their leading money list player this season, David Smail, although Paul Sheehan, Brendan Jones, Craig Parry, Wayne Perske, Kurt Barnes, Brad Andrews, Aaron Townsend, Steve Conran, Eddie Lee and Richard Lee are also in the field.