Pagunsan breathes down Fujita’s neck
Philippine Daily Inquirer
HYOGO, Japan—Home favorite Hiroyuki Fujita took the second-round lead at the Asia-Pacific Panasonic Open on Friday but has the Philippines’ reigning Asian Tour No. 1 Juvic Pagunsan in hot pursuit.
Fujita, a two-time winner on the Asian Tour, carded a three-under-par 68 for a one-shot lead over Pagunsan, who birdied the last three holes for 66. Darren Beck of Australia and Koumei Oda of Japan share second spot with the Filipino at the Higashi Hirono Golf Club.
India’s Shiv Kapur battled through fatigue and jetlag for 68 and was three shots off the pace followed by Asian Tour rookie David Lipsky (64) of the United States and Japanese stalwart Ryo Ishikawa (65), who were a further shot back.
Overnight leader Yuta Ikeda, who shot an opening round 62, slipped back with a 76 for 24th place in a tie with Jeev Milkha Singh of India and Thais Prayad Marksaeng and Chinnarat Phadungsil at the $1.9-million event sanctioned by the Asian Tour and Japan Golf Tour.
Fujita, 46, fuelled his bid for a fourth victory in Japan when he birdied the last hole for a 10-under-par 132 total.
The sweet-swinging Pagunsan got off with a bogey, birdie and bogey start but steadied ship with six more birdies, including a missed eagle opportunity from 25 feet on the 18th hole.
“My approach shot landed on a slope (18th) and the ball could have rolled into the water but it went toward the green instead,” said Pagunsan, who finished second at the Queen’s Cup in Thailand on the Asian Tour in June.
Pagunsan played down his chances of ending a five-year title drought on the Asian Tour.
“I’ve been hitting the ball good so hopefully I can hang in there,” he said. Asian Tour News