Japan’s Yosuke Asaji capped an unforgettable week when he held his nerve to win the Asia-Pacific Diamond Cup by one shot on Mother’s Day at the Sobu Country Club on Sunday.
With his mother and wife following him throughout the final round, Asaji, who earned his spot by topping the Monday Qualifiers, kept his composure as he held on to his overnight lead to eventually close with a one-over-par 72.
Asaji’s winning total of three-under-par 281 also earned him a spot at The 148th Open which will be held at Royal Portrush, Northern Ireland in July.
The Japanese was chasing his first professional victory and admitted he also had a stroke of luck with his closest rivals failing to dislodge him from the leaderboard’s summit.
Micah Lauren Shin of the United States tried to surmount a late charge but dropped three shots in his inward-nine and had to settle for a share of second place with Japanese amateur Ren Yonezawa.
New Zealand’s Danzel Ieremia and Korea’s Y.E. Yang were tied for fourth while Zimbabwean Scott Vincent secured another top-10 by sharing sixth place with Korea’s Dongkyu Jang.
The Asia-Pacific Diamond Cup was the Asian Tour’s first stop in Japan this season and second of four co-sanctioned events with the Japan Golf Tour Organisation (JGTO) this year.
Did you know?
- Yosuke Asaji turned professional in 2012. Prior to his breakthrough, his best result at the Asia-Pacific Diamond Cup came in 2017 when he finished tied-10th.
- Asaji secured a spot at this week’s Asia-Pacific Diamond Cup when he topped the Monday Qualifiers where three spots were allocated for this week’s event.
- Micah Lauren Shin is based in Davao and came through Qualifying School in 2017. He made his breakthrough that same year when he won the Resorts World Manila Masters.
- Shin’s tournament winner’s exemption ends this season and he needs to finish inside the top-60 on the Order of Merit to keep his card.
- Shin’s tied-second finish this week was his best result since his victory in Manila in 2017. His previous best results after his breakthrough were two top-10s in Hong Kong in 2017 and 2018.
- In 2012, Lu Wei-chih underwent brain surgery to remove a non-malignant tumour which put him out of action for close to a year.
- Although he posted only one top-10 in the subsequent seasons upon his return, Lu was simply relieved he could compete again after his major health scare.
- All of Lu’s four victories on the Asian Tour have come from home soil in Chinese Taipei.
- It was another top-10 finish for Scott Vincent after finishing fourth in Perth earlier this year.
- Vincent came through Qualifying School in 2016. He did not miss a single cut in six tournaments that year and in 2017, he notched three top-three results to finish in 17th place on the Merit rankings to retain his playing rights.
- He finished fifth on the Habitat for Humanity Standings in 2018, thanks to nine top-10 results – the most number of top-10s made by a player without a win last season.
Yosuke Asaji (Jpn) Fourth round 72 (+1), Total 281 (-3)
I’m really happy as this is my first professional victory and it was such a tough battle out there today. I was up against so many quality players and I had to play my best golf. I was also lucky some of them did not manage to catch me. But I got a lot of support from everyone this week especially my wife and my mother who are here with me this week. It’s mother’s day today and I’m happy I’m able to deliver the best gift to my mother on this special day. It’s unbelievable I’m also going to The Open now with this victory. This is truly a very special week for me, starting from getting through the Monday qualifiers, to winning the tournament and now playing in my first Major.
Micah Lauren Shin (Usa) Fourth round 72 (+1), Total 282 (-2)
Of course it’s disappointing as I really tried my best to catch him (Asaji). But I wasn’t driving it so well today and it was tough. When I stepped up to the tee this morning, I just told myself I got to get the ball on the fairway because if I can do it, I’ll have a good chance for at least a par or birdie. I haven’t been playing well lately and I needed a result like this to boost my confidence. So if I can look on the bright side, I know I have the game to do well and hopefully, this is the start of better things to come.
Scott Vincent (Zim) Fourth round 72 (+1), Total 284 (Ev)
It’s a great week obviously I have been struggling for a bit of form recently and it’s nice to come out here and feel the pressure and the nerves of being in contention, so I’m really happy with how it went. I got a little bit to work on but it’s moving in the right direction. Yes, the second round I played great I just had a really bad finish, I don’t know why I made a couple of poor choices but what was really encouraging was just being able to play well on the third day and get yourself right back in it and then you know, anything can happen today. We got another four weeks in Japan after this so I’m looking forward to being in one place for a change.
Lu Wei-chih (Tpe) Fourth round 72 (+1), Total 285 (+1)
I’m really happy with my performance this year. It was a tough course but I showed that I can still play well despite the challenging conditions. I had a disappointing start at the beginning of the year but I feel my game is slowly coming back together especially after a week like this. It’s wonderful to have my wife and daughter here with me in Japan this week. Their presence has given me lots of motivation to play even better and it feels like I’m playing at home with them here by my side.
Leading scores after round 4 of the Asia Pacific Open Golf Championship Diamond Cup being played at the par 71, 7333 Yards Sobu Country Club course (am – denotes amateur):
281 – Yosuke Asaji (JPN) 69-72-68-72.
282 – Ren Yonezawa (am, JPN) 69-74-71-68, Micah Lauren Shin (USA) 71-67-72-72.
283 – Y.E. Yang (KOR) 69-71-72-71, Denzel Ieremia (NZL) 76-68-66-73.
284 – Dongkyu Jang (KOR) 72-69-73-70, Scott Vincent (ZIM) 71-73-68-72.
285 – Hosung Choi (KOR) 73-72-71-69, Tomoyo Ikemura (JPN) 68-72-73-72, Prayad Marksaeng (THA) 70-72-71-72, Lu Wei-chih (TPE) 71-71-71-72, Jinichiro Kozuma (JPN) 74-67-71-73.
286 – Sihwan Kim (USA) 72-74-71-69, Sadom Kaewkanjana (THA) 71-74-71-70, Kunihiro Kamii (JPN) 76-68-71-71.