By The Nation
Jazz missed eight greens but found 10 fairways and needed only 23 putts in his commendable round of 66 in the ¥150,000,000 (approximately US$1,338,067) event that is co-sanctioned by the Asian Tour and the Japan Golf Tour Organisation (JGTO).
“It’s quite hot out there. I think I have played with Shugo Imahira for more than 10 times already. So I know what is his game like and I know Ryo Ishikawa’s as well. There was a huge crowd supporting Ryo today and it’s nice to see.,” said Jazz sitting in 60th place on the OWGR, Jazz is the highest-ranked player in the field this week. He also leads the Asian Tour Order of Merit with a current haul of US$769,297.
“All the birdies I made today were similar. Nothing really stood out. I changed my putting technique to arm lock again and it’s working well so far. So we’ll see. The course is playing tough today actually so I am happy with my five-under.
I’m just one shot back right now. It’s good to get off to a good start. We played in Korea last week and the roughs are pretty much two times higher than we have here. I’m happy to see that the roughs are shorter this week actually,” he added
Jazz is the only player to have won more than once on the Asian Tour so far this season. He claimed his third title at the season-opening Singapore Open in January and secured his fourth victory at the Kolon Korea Open in June.
At the age of 23 years 6 months and 27 days, Jazz becomes the youngest ever player to achieve four wins on Tour. India’s Gaganjeet Bhullar held the record previously after he won his fourth title in 2012 at the age of 24.
Lu wielded a hot putter to grab a share of the opening round lead with Shugo Imahira and Toshinori Muto of Japan as the trio signed for matching six-under-par 65s.
Lu, who played in the final group that started from the 10th today, traded two birdies against a bogey to turn in 35 but picked up five more birdies on his way home to seize a share of the lead at the prestigious Higashi Hirono Golf Club.
The 40-year-old Lu would match the efforts of Imahira and Muto, who both returned with bogey-free rounds highlighted by six
by one shot in fourth place alongside Korea’s Yikeun Chang and Kazuki Higa of Japan, who claimed their respective breakthroughs on the Asian Tour and the Japan Golf Tour earlier this month.
Australian Brendon Jones, one of the five past champions of the tournament in the field this week, closed with two straight birdies to settle two shots off the pace in seventh place with three other players, including Argentinean Miguel Carballo, who won his first Asian Tour title recently in Indonesia.
The Panasonic OPEN Golf Championship will be the concluding leg of the 2018/19 Panasonic Swing. The popular event is celebrating its 10th edition on the Asian Tour this week and is returning to the Higashi Hirono Golf Club following a seven-year lapse.