After a frustrating run of five straight missed cuts, JGTO veteran Toru Taniguchi must be delighted to be playing at the Oarai Golf Club — one of his many favourite hunting grounds on Tour.
Today, the 54-year-old rolled back the years to shoot a solid three-under-par 67, finishing in a share of sixth place on the opening day of the Asia Pacific Open Golf Championship Diamond Cup.
Although none of his impressive 20 JGTO wins was achieved at this prestigious venue, the Oarai Golf Club was exactly where he played some of his best golf during his heyday, notably finishing solo fourth at the 1998 Japan Open.
Taniguchi also registered three top-seven finishes in his four Diamond Cup outings played on this course, including the last edition back in 2013.
Then he finished lone fifth and three shots behind the young Hideki Matsuyama, who memorably lifted the Diamond Cup for his third JGTO victory barely months after he turned professional.
The Diamond Cup had since been making the rounds from one venue to another across Japan before making a welcome return this week for the 11th time, after nine years.
The Oarai Golf Club first played host to the tournament when it was known as Mitsubishi Gallant Tournament in 1979, which was won by Takahiro Nakagawa.
The tournament returned to the venue for nine more occasions in 1986 (Tomoyuki Nakajima), 1993 (Chen Tze-chung), 1996 (Masashi Ozaki), 2001 (Toshimitsu Izawa), 2003 (Todd Hamilton), 2004 and 2007 (Tetsuji Hiratsuka), 2009 (Takashi Kanemoto) and 2013 (Matsuyama).
Designed by renowned Seiichi Inoue, the Oarai Golf Club has a long history dating back to 1953.
It is one of the only few seaside courses across Japan overlooking the Pacific Ocean, with winds that pose a big challenge to players here.
Other major domestic tournaments held here include Japan Amateur Golf Championship in 1961 and 1985, 1960 Japan PGA Championship and the 2014 Japan Women's Amateur Golf Championship.