Nick got an exemption from New Zealand Golf to play in the Asia-Pacific Diamond Cup which is a Japanese Professional Tour event. This year’s tournament was played between the 21st and 24th September at the Caledonian Golf Club in Chiba which is about two hours from Tokyo. This tournament has been played annually since 1973 and was sanctioned as an Asian Tour Event in 2014. The prize pool was JPY150,000,000 or about USD1.37 million. The winner would earn UDS269,000. As an amateur, Nick would not be partaking in the spoils but gaining valuable experience and exposure.
Nick felt very privileged to be given this opportunity to tee it up against the professionals and experience an event in a unique country like Japan. He had a couple of practice rounds prior to the event and was in awe of some the professionals that were playing in the event – guys he had been following since he was a youngster. Unfortunately he just came up short missing the cut line by one shot shooting rounds of 72 and 73. The cut line was even par and Nick finished the thirty six holes at one over.
The winner of the tournament was Daisuke Kataoka from Japan who shot 12 under over the four rounds. There was only one amateur that made the cut with Nick and another amateur from Japan being the next best equal amateur contenders. NZ’s own professional, Michael Hendry also played in the event finishing in a tie for 19th which earnt him a tidy USD11,456.
In Nick’s own words…….
The Diamond Cup is an event on the Japanese Tour which boasts a purse of about US $1.4 million (the winner gets a cheque for USD269,000) – not a bad pay cheque for a weeks work. Past European Tour superstars were present – Jeev Milkah Singh, Leang WenChong and Jbe Kruger, among many more. I was fortunate enough to get an exemption into the field from New Zealand Golf, they thought I was a prime candidate for the experience with my upcoming schedule as I transition into the professional ranks.
The whole experience in Japan was amazing. The people were friendly and welcoming, the location (Narita which is about two hours from Tokyo) was clean and green and the event was organised superbly. The golf course was your typical Asian resort layout – short, tight and tough off the tee. The rough was as high as my ankles and the greens shaped around the natural contours.
I played okay for the event. It was one of those events were I would have stretches of good golf and then unfortunately leak a few too many shots in other stretches. I have been playing with the mindset to ‘find my best for the day’; whether I shoot 4 over or 4 under isn’t as important as me shooting the best score I can possibly shoot given my game for the day. My putting was rock solid but unfortnately I didnt have the grestest couple of days with my ball striking. Having said that, I fought as hard as I could and gave it my very best effort. For that, I can walk around with my head held high.
I came down the last hole at 2 over par thinking that a birdie could sneak me inside the cut-line. After hitting my approach shot into the par 5 to about 53 feet and then lagging my 3rd shot down to the hole, I was left with a ticklish little 4 foot slider for my birdie. I was incredibly pleased to put a real good stroke on it and hole the putt thinking that the birdie could sneak me in. Unfortunately, my score of one over was one shot short of making the cut. Even though I had missed the cut, I knew my game was good enough to contend and that I am ready to be out there for real.
I spent the next two days touring around Tokyo and watching the leading groups compete for the trophy. It was a slightly bitter debut on the Japenese Tour but I know that I will be better off for the experience and that I will be back!
Next stop for me is Q-school in Nebraksa for the web.com tour. I am excited to get back to work and give myself the best opportunity I can to play well. Exciting times ahead!!
Caledonian Golf Club
This J. Michael Poellot design is set amongst rolling hills and natural woodland in the Sanbu district of the Chiba prefecture. Plenty of stylish “rivers of sand” bunkers adorn the layout, with five ponds also threatening on seven or eight holes. The far end of the course away from the clubhouse is criss-crossed by towering pylons and their associated power lines. It is a private golf club although they allow a limited number of non members to play.
J. Michael Poellot is a renowned American golf course designer, whose designs can be found in the USA, Mexico, Panama, Brazil, the Carribean, France and across Asia.
The course was established in 1990 and is 7,021 yards long off the back tees and has a par of 72.
Playing the Tourist photos……….
Toilet instructions 😂😂