Open starts up for grabs at Mizuno Open
BY Bruce Young | Japan Tour | 2014 Gateway to the Open Mizuno Open | Preview | 28 May 2014
The Japan Tour is in Okayama Prefecture for this week’s Gateway to the Open Mizuno Open where not only is a significant purse at stake but the leading four players inside the top twelve finishers this week and not otherwise exempt will assure themselves of a start at the Open Championship at Hoylake in July.
Four players in the field have already secured places at The Open. Masanori Kobayashi, the 2013 Japan Open winner, along with Hiroshi Iwata, Yoshinobu Tsukada and China’s Ashun Wu who qualified at the Open Qualifying Series – Thailand event in March are on their way to Royal Liverpool
The four players that qualify for The Open this week will join Australians John Senden, Rhein Gibson and Bryden Macpherson who qualified at the Emirates Australian Open in November 2013.
George Coetzee and Justin Walters of South Africa and Jin Jeong of South Korea secured the three places on offer at The Joburg Open in South Africa in February. Amateur Cheng-Tsung Pan of Chinese Taipei was the fourth player to qualify in Thailand.
This week’s event has been good to Australians in recent years with the currently injured Brendan Jones the winner in 2013 and Brad Kennedy the champion in 2012.
Canberra’s Chris Campbell won in 2005 while Jones also won in 2004.
Kenney stands a very good chance of adding yet another green Mizuno jacket this week following a very good tournament last week at the Kansai Open.
Leading money winners in 2014 Hyung sung Kim (who is already has a start at the Open) is not in this week’s field but the next best Yusaku Miyazato, Hiroshi Iwata, last week’s winner Koumei Oda and Hiroyuki Fujita are.
The Australasian challenge is numerically strong this week with Kennedy, Steve Conran, Michael Hendry, Kurt Barnes, Scott Strange, Adam Bland, Steve Jeffress, David Smail, Stephen Leaney, Peter Wilson, Richard Lee and Richard Tate all lining up.