Darren Beck within one at Panasonic Open

BY Bruce Young | Asian Tour | 2012 Asia-Pacific Panasonic Open | Round Two | 21 Sep 2012

Already a winner of three events on the Japan Golf Tour this season, Hiroyuki Fujita has opened up a one shot lead through 36 holes of the Asia Pacific Panasonic Open in Hyogo Prefecture in the south and west of Honshu.

The money list leader in 2012, Fujita added a second round of 68 to go with his opening 64, a birdie at his final hole today breaking him clear of 34 year old Australian Darren Beck, Filipiono Juvic Pagunsan and Koumei Oda

Fujita won his 14th Japan Golf Tour title at last week’s ANA Open and has become Japan’s leading world ranked player as a result of his great run this season.

Courtesy of his Asian Tour status, New South Wales’ golfer, Beck, gets just his fourth start in a Japan Tour event, this particular tournament jointly sanctioned between the Japan and Asian Tours.

Beck has played this event in each of the past three years missing the cut on each occasion but his game has been on the improve again of late.

“I played pretty good yesterday but left a few putts out there,” said Beck after his round today. "I felt that I had a better score in me and managed to roll in a couple towards the end. I hit some nice seven and eight irons inside 10 feet of the hole and that was nice.

It has been a long time! It is a good feeling especially when you get two good rounds. I’ve had some mental issues. I just lost the plot a little bit. I put a bit of pressure on myself and it got to me a little bit. I practised hard during the Asian Tour break. I got a different caddy and I’m trying to chill out and make things easy for him as well!

“I did a lot of breathing exercises with my coach and my wife. Just trying to keep calm and not so worked up. I’ve been doing a lot of yoga even on the road and that has made my body feel comfortable. My body is not sore and it has helped. I’ve been doing yoga for about a year.

“Previously, my body used to get sore when I play a couple of rounds so I’m making sure I do a lot of stretching and keep my body in good shape. I haven’t been doing a lot of weights, which I used to do a lot. I kind of lost weight just by doing yoga!

“I like the course. I struggled in Japan in the last few years. The greens are a bit tricky but the rough is not too bad.”

Another Australian to perform above expectations this week has been the Queensland amateur Cameron Smith who after an opening round of 67 yesterday was able to add a second round of 71 and at 4 under par is in a share of 25th position.

Smith is one of several amateurs to have been invited to play the event. New Zealand’s Vaughn McCall is another and he has also performed well. At 2 under McCall has safely made the cut despite dropping several shots late in his round.

Kieran Pratt is another Australian to have made the cut when he finished at 3 under and in 38th position while Brendan Jones and Marcus Fraser are 47th.

Rick Kulacz was the only other Australian to make it to the weekend when he finished on the cut score of 1 under.

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    About the Author: Bruce Young

    A multi-award winning golf journalist, Bruce's extensive knowledge of the game comes from several years caddying the tournament circuits of the world, marketing a successful golf course design company and as one of Australia's leading golf journalists and commentators.


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