Japan Tour returns for PGA Championship
BY Bruce Young | Japan Tour | 2011 PGA Championship Nissin Cupnoodle Cup | Preview | 10 May 2011
Following a one week break, the Japan Golf Tour resumes on Thursday when the Japan PGA Championship Nissin Cupnoodle Cup is played at the Ono Toyo Golf Club in Hyogo in Hyogo Prefecture. Hyogo is in the southern half of the main island of Honshu just over an hour’s drive from Kobe.
One of the major championships on the Japan Golf Tour schedule, the tournament is being played at this venue for the first occasion and befitting the relevance of this event a strong field has been assembled.
Toru Taniguchi is the defending champion having won this event for the first time when defeating Tetsuji Hiratsuka by one shot last year. Taniguchi has won 16 Japan Golf Tour titles but his win in this event last year was his first PGA Championship.
Kim Kyung-tae heads the field in terms of world ranking having just moved to 36th following his runaway victory last week in Korea. He has also moved to 11th in the International Presidents Cup standings.
The leading money winner in Japan in 2011 is Australian Brendan Jones who is also on the fringe of International Presidents Cup team consideration. Jones is currently 57th in the world and as a result is 17th in the Presidents Cup standings.
Jones arrives in Hyogo as a last start winner having won the Crowns Tournament two weeks ago and a back up victory would elevate him further in both standings and to the fringe of US Open eligibility.
Jones has won several of the Japan Golf Tour’s flagship events including the Crowns and the Visa Taiheiyo but a win this week would add one of the major championships to his already impressive list.
Ryo Ishikawa and Yuta Ikeda are two of the greatest of the current day players on the Japan Golf Tour and both are genuine chances to take the title. Ikeda already has a Japan PGA Championship to his name having won in 2009 while Ishikawa will be keen to win his first event of 2011.
Other Australasians in the event are Chris Campbell, Rich Tate, Paul Sheehan and David Smail.
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