Tournament article

Japan PGA Championship 2019

Koichi Kitamura surprised to face the "first ever final group on final day"

On the final 18th, it was almost out of bounce, but he barely cleared it and also got it to 30cm from the bottom of the cliff where he couldn't even see the green.
"It felt good", said Koichi, and his super shot was applauded by the spectators around the green to show how great the shot was.

He has won the Hokuriku Open last July and earned his rights to enter this week's Major. This is his first Japan Tour event this season, and he is more than surprised to see how great he is doing.

The key for his great scoring is his putter.
"Only putt that I missed was at 17th. Other than that, I made all of the 1 to 1.5-meters today."
His old buddy putter that he has been using for 10 years is supporting his game. Koichiro started off with a birdie and got on the rhythm to gain 6 birdies today, became one of the 3-way co-leaders heading for the final rounds.

He has also worked on his swing change, using more of weight shift on legs for the swing rather than depending on his arms.
"I made a big mistake on the 2nd shot of the 18th."
But that miss shot lead to that super play from the cliff.
He says that his details on the swing change is top secret for now, but he is willing to talk about it if he wins this week.

Chairman Kuramoto has announced today that tomorrow will be 36-hole final round and the top starting group will tee of at 6:00 am. The pairings will be not changed for the whole 36 holes. It will surely be a very long day. Koichiro used to play in high school baseball, and has experienced summer high school tournaments, which is very hot and tiresome.
"Compare to that, golf courses are lot cooler."

May be the heatwave is not so bad, but the issue might be the mental strength. Long and dreadful 36-holes are mentally tough to battel. Would Koichiro be able to battle that? Let's wait and see.