Tournament article

Kansai Open Golf Championship 2022

Quayle stays close to leaders

Quayle stays close to leaders

Australia’s Anthony Quayle underlined his determination to make up for his setback in the season-opening Token Homemate Cup by firing a five-under-par 66 to tie for 12th spot after the opening round of the Kansai Open Golf Championship on Thursday.


Fellow Aussie Andrew Evans and American Han Lee were the other two international players making their presence felt when they signed for a matching 67s at the Yomiuri Country Club to be tied 21st in the 150-man leaderboard.


The first round pace was set by Mikiya Akutsu, who fired a sublime 63 to give himself a one-shot lead over a group of five competitors in second spot that included Hirotaka Ashizawa, Takahiro Hataji, Taiga Semikawa, Naoyuki Kataoka and Mitsumasa Tamura.


Defending champion Rikuya Hoshino is two shots adrift after a solid 65, where he sits in joint seventh.


Quayle, who missed the cut a fortnight ago, brilliantly made five birdies in his flawless scorecard to stay close to the leaders as he bids for his JGTO breakthrough.


The Australian’s closest attempt to victory was finishing joint-runner ups at The Crowns in 2018. In 2019, he did well to finish third at the Casio World Open.

Not to be outdone, Evans too made an impressive bogey-free start when he picked up three shots to turn in 32 before finishing with a flourish with a fourth birdie of the day.


“I’m pleased with my 67, four shots off the lead, but it’s still early days, and I don’t want to think too far ahead first,” said Evans, the winner of the Final Qualifying Tournament last December.


“It’s another new round tomorrow with different challenges, and I will take it one step at a time.


On his short-term goal, he said: “I won the QT, and there is no re-rank. So, the goal is to play well in all the tournaments I get into. I’m looking forward to challenging myself with many new courses this year.”


Veteran Lee continued to turn in a steady performance, making three birdies in a four-hole stretch starting from the sixth hole to set himself up for another great outing in as many starts.


At the Token Homemate Cup, he claimed a top 10 finish by finishing tied ninth.