Tournament article

Kansai Open Golf Championship 2019

Naoto Nakanishi brings many laughter and joy to his cheering hometown fans

Naoto Nakanishi played well today with cheers and laughter which got him in the position to play in final group on Final Round tomorrow.

His speaks in Kansai accent and humor which is favored by his hometown fans. His funny gestures and comments make happy atmosphere and his sharp play adds applause to it. As he made consecutive birdies on 3rd and 4th, crowd burst into joy and applauses.

Naoto is more than "drive for the show" type of a guy rather than "putt for the money". But on the Par 5 17th, where players seek for birdie or better, his "drive for the show" spirit went to the wrong direction, literary. He went way over the green on his 3rd shot from 104 yards out, ended with a bogey which costed him to rank down to 3rd.

The funny thing was about that he apologized to his fans when he made that bogey. Players tend to raise their hand and make a gesture of thank you when they get praised, but it is rare that the apologize to the fans.

"I know that fans are expecting to see a birdie on Par 5's, but I let them down, so I apologized" says Naoto.

Naoto talks a lot with his fans during the round. It's seems to be natural to him to talk when he plays.
"They cheer and applauds while I play, and it really helps. I am grateful. I practice well beforehand to make my victory come true. So, at the course, I want the fans to enjoy and I want to enjoy with the fans as well."

Naoto especially wants to make his family happy, as his wife walks along outside the rope with 3 years old and 1-year old daughters. He won so many titles during his amateur days and thought he could win easily when he turned Pro in 2011. But he suffered yips for few times, couldn't get himself up to the regular tour stage which lead him to think about quitting professional golf once. But his wife told him to be positive, which supported Naoto to build up his confidence back, and his game was back too.

Tomorrow, he will be in the final group on the Final Round for the first time. He will be playing along with his fans and loving family.
"I do want to make my first victory in front of my hometown fans, but my goal is to make everybody happy. That's all."