Significant sign for a real comeback! Hiroshi Iwata marks 63 on Day 1 at his "hometown" Tohoku
"My putting was great", Hiroshi recalled the fabulous round of bogey free and 9 birdies. He made a 3-meter putt on the 2nd for his first birdie of the day, then went on to make 2 in a row at 4 and 5, followed by 3 in a row from 7 to 9. He made the turn with scoring 30.
On 10th, where he had 2.5-meter tough par saving putt, but he managed it. After adding 2 more birdies on 11 and 13, he made it on 2 at the final 18th, he couldn't drain the 8-meter eagle putt but got himself a tap in and scored 9 under 63 and became the solo leader for the day.
In 2016 season, Hiroshi challenged at the US PGA Tour, but came back all broken up in only 1 year. The damage on his swings, which he got from US Tour experience was haunting Hiroshi for quite a while.
"I could be playing well, but if I make 1 mistake, everything falls apart. When things start to fall apart, I can't rebuild it even to the ending Sunday. I somehow manage to score with my short games and putts, but when those also fall apart, I can't play golf at all. It's been like that for quite a while."
So, Hiroshi says even with this great score, "I can't be sure with only 1 round of great golf, that I have my game back yet."
Last 2 weeks, he spent time in his hometown Sendai.
"I practiced and trained. Had fun with friends and slept a lot too. So, it was well balanced vacation."
His home is 2 and half hours drive from this week's course, but in the whole, it is same "hometown" Tohoku area. If he could make the real comeback that he is waiting for in his "hometown", that should be the best wish he could achieve.
At his half turn, his playing partner Taichi Teshima said, "I feel that there are many Hiroshi's fans out here this week."
It was true and few of Hiroshi's high school juniors were there to cheer for him. With these cheers and a great starting round, his honest thought was shared.
"I want to win."
Hiroshi says, he is not sure of his A game coming back to him yet, but with the great round and friendly faces cheering for him, maybe he is feeling the momentum coming. The most wanted 3rd win that hasn't happened for 4 years now might come true on coming Sunday.