Tournament article

Japan PGA Championship 2022

Pagunsan hoping to solve putting woes over the weekend

Pagunsan hoping to solve putting woes over the weekend

Juvic Pagunsan is hoping to discover his touch on the greens as he heads into the weekend aiming to contend for the Japan PGA Championship crown.


The 44-year-old Filipino insists he is striking the ball very well at the moment but it would count for nothing if he struggles to hole the putt.


Pagunsan is adamant that there is still plenty to play for as he is just three shots off the pace after carding a one-over 72 to reach the 36-hole mark at four-under-par 138 total.


In a congested leaderboard, Daisuke Yasumoto (66), Daijiro Izumida (69), Mikumu Horikawa (69) and Terumichi Kakazu (67) lead the way with the quartet occupying prime positions with their 135 totals at Grand Fields Country Club.


Pagunsan, who is gunning for his second JGTO victory, said: "Again, I wasn't putting too well. Not so lucky on the green as I three-putted a few times. But there are still two days to go, I have a big chance still at just three shots back.


He added: "I just need to putt well because ball-striking wise, it's been good. Driver, second shot, no problem. "If I can manage to drop more putts, then I might stand a chance."


With good weather expected over the weekend, Pagunsan is looking forward to playing behind the large galleries.


"If it doesn't rain, it's good for the tournament, we can expect more crowd coming to watch us play. That will be an added motivation for all the players surely," said Pagunsan.


Yasumoto, a one-time Abema Tour winner, staged a remarkable comeback after dropping two bogeys in the opening three holes to put himself in contention for a possible breakthrough JGTO victory.


After the turn, he fired an eagle on the par-five first hope before sinking five birdies on holes two, three, six, eight and nine for a sizzling inward-nine of seven-under 29.


"I knew I needed to respond on my second-nine if I were to salvage anything after a slow start," said Yasumoto, who is playing in his second season on the main Tour.


"I was aiming for a birdie on the first hole, but it turned out to be an eagle. It was a massive confidence boost which led to a great score.


"I'm very pleased. I'm expecting it to be tough too, but I will persevere. I want to focus on each shot and enjoy the remaining two days," added the Japanese.


The next highest international finishers, American Han Lee and Scott Vincent of Zimbabwe signed for a 71 and 70 respectively to be tied for 21st place on 140 total.