Japan defies weather to win Juniors

The Japanese team fought off atrocious weather conditions at the Hakone Country Club, which severely disrupted the APGC Junior Championships, to clinch a convincing team victory.

Heavy rain, fog and little visibility left officials with no choice but to cancel the first day’s play featuring the fourball and 18-hole stroke play individual competitions.

It was decided to carry the individual event over to the third and final day but on the second day round two was suspended at sunset.

However, bad conditions were again anticipated forcing the cancellation of the foursomes.

In the end, the Japanese duo of Ryo Hisatsune and Tsubasa Kajitani won the teams competition, shooting 10 under par.

The pair won by four shots from Thailand, who were in turn a further four shots ahead of Chinese Taipei No.2 and New Zealand No.1, tied for fourth at two under the card.

Australian Harrison Crowe took out the men’s individual competition after firing a round of 69.

The 17-year-old was matched by Hisatsune (aged 16) but the Japanese had to settle for second after the match of cards.

They finished just one shot clear of Thailand’s Denwit Boriboonsub, who fired a 70 while Korean Beomjin Kim was fourth after a 71.

In the women’s individual event China’s Xiaowen Yin, 14, proved her potential by firing a 69, ahead of 15-year-old Tsubasa Kajitani, who signed for a 70.

Hisatsune said the key to Japan’s victory was to concentrate on compatibility on the course.

“Due to bad weather conditions for this tournament we played 36 holes yesterday but I think we played well as a team,” Hisatsune said.

“We communicated successfully with each other (and) as the first year of the National Team, ‘Team Spirit’ was a slogan repeated often, so I am glad we were able to demonstrate that.

“In the future, I hope to participate in big competitions and with each step up I hope to create a path into the professional and global world.”

Kajitani said she felt the team atmosphere would help her golf in the future.

“Although there were cancellations due to bad weather I think I played well as a pair with Ryo and I am glad we were able to win the team competition with good scores,” she said.

“I hope to take what I have learned through this tournament as the national team member and make the most of it in the next match.”

Shunkichi Nomura, who founded the Nomura Cup teams event and the APGC in 1963, was a founding member of the Hakone host club for the Juniors and a relative of Mr. Toshio Iwasaki, the President of Hakone CC.

The Iwasaki family founded the base company of the Mitsubishi group of companies in 1873 and played a major role of establishing Hakone CC in 1954.

While the weather for the tournament was difficult, the operation was run smoothly due to the work of many members and staff at Hakone.

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