Tournament article

ACN Championship Golf Tournament 2023

Imahira continues to lead the way

Imahira continues to lead the way

Shugo Imahira, seeking his second JGTO title of the season, carded a modest one-under-par 71 on Saturday to take a one-shot lead into the final round of the ACN Championship Golf Tournament.

After a free-scoring second round where he fired a superb 63, Imahira found birdies hard to come by. He could only mix three birdies with two bogeys at the Sanko Golf Club on Saturday.

Nevertheless, his effort was enough to fend off his pursuers and maintain his position at the top of a tightly congested leaderboard, posting a 13-under total of 203.

Veteran Yuta Ikeda was in sole possession of second place after posting a 68 for 204, giving himself a chance to end a four-year title drought and win his 22nd JGTO title.

A shot further back was the in-form South Korean player, Song Young-han, who also shot a 68 to raise hopes of a second victory of the season. He was tied for third with Yuki Inamori (70) and Tomohiro Kondo (72).

Imahira mentioned his struggles with the windy conditions but remained upbeat after grinding through the day.

"The opportunities were hard to come by today, and the wind felt more challenging than it did yesterday," said the two-time JGTO No. 1 for 2018 and 2019.

"The ball tends to roll quite a bit after landing on the greens, especially with the wind in play. This makes gauging the distance particularly challenging.

"Therefore, I felt that even a bogey would be an acceptable outcome under the circumstances.

"While I couldn't maximize my performance today, I believe I managed to stay resilient."

When asked what improvements he needs to make in order to secure a second victory this year following his triumph at the season-opening Token Homemate Cup, the 31-year-old responded, "With just one round remaining, it's crucial for me to concentrate on every shot.

"It's essential to be aware of all elements. Keeping the ball on the fairway is paramount; if it veers into the rough, stopping it on the green becomes notably more difficult. The primary strategy will revolve around maintaining consistent shots on the fairway and adeptly managing the regions surrounding the green.

"The wind has been a consistent factor, and that dynamic hasn't shifted. I've grown to make a decision, trust my instincts, and follow through with my shot."

Leading third round scores:

203: Shugo Imahira 69-63-71;

204: Yuta Ikeda 67-69-68;

205: Song Young-han (Kor) 68-69-68, Yuki Inamori 68-67-70, Tomohiro Kondo 66-67-72;

206: Ryu Hyun-woo (Kor) 66-68-72;

207: Han Lee (US) 68-72-67, Yuki Shino 70-68-69, Shaun Norris (Rsa) 67-70-70;

208: Mikiya Akutsu 71-69-68, Naoto Nakanishi 69-69-70, Yusuke Sakamoto 70-67-71, Yosuke Asaji 69-67-72.