Tournament article

Japan Golf Tour Championship Mori Building Cup Shishido Hills 2019

Mikumu Horikawa cups in a miracle eagle on signature hole 17th and made the crowds roar

26 years old and now 6th year on the Tour, rising star Mikumu Horikawa sits at the top of the leader board with 3 shot lead.

He is known for a friendly smile, but it got brighter at the 481 yards Par 4 17th hole. His 2nd shot from the fairway, 193 left to the pin with 6 Iron dropped perfectly about 1 meter short of the pin. It bounced once then disappeared into the cup and the crowds roared.

It was a terribly hard scheduled day. Mikumu has to finish his remaining 6 holes from the 2nd Round starting at 6:30 am. He also had to play it alone since Jumbo Ozaki and Ho-Sung Choi both WD.

It was his first time to play alone on the tournament and it was hard to keep the rhythm and pace, but he concluded the round by making the 14-meter birdie and become a 2nd Round leader with 2 shot lead.

He had to kill over 4 hours of time until his start for the 3rd Round. But with great hospitality by the course, he was able to rest at the lodge right next to the course.
"I changed into my pajamas and slept for about 2 and a half hours, got up at 12 noon and took shower to restart the morning routines. That enabled me to make a good switch for another round to begin."

He has been under hard times as all the players do, such as making a bogey on the last hole at last year's Dunlop Phoenix which made the victory slip away from his hands. Same on JT Cup he made a double bogey on 18 and lost his chance to join the playoffs. But he never stops smiling.
"During my high school days, I was taught to just enjoy playing golf. That logic stays with me."
He had pretty bad trouble today at 15th, where his shot went way left and ended up on the 17th hole. He played it wisely but couldn't save the 4-meter par putt. But he was still smiling.

Tomorrow will be his 5th time to play in the final group on the Final Round. He will be playing along with same age and last year's Order of Merit titleholder Shugo Imahira. Mikumu used to think he could never beat the Money Rank champion, but after going head to head for 11 times, Mikumu got used to the pressure and now he is enjoying the battle against the same age rival.

Next week he will fly on Monday to US Open. During 20 years of Shishido Hills tournament history, there are 8 first timers. Mikumu's name means "have a dream in the future".
Would his dream come true on Sunday afternoon? Let's wait and see.