The allure and diversity of the rich Asian culture on the Asian Tour prove to be more than the icing on the cake for Japan’s Masahiro Kawamura.
A top-five finish at the inaugural €1 million (approximately US$1.1 million) AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open on the weekend also justified the Japanese decision to move out of his comfort zone and capitalise on the playing opportunities on the region’s premier Tour.
What started off as an Asian sojourn to embrace the rich melting pot of cultures in Asia has not only turned out insightful but also very lucrative for the 22-year-old, who pocketed US$40,000 for his week’s effort at the historic event which was tri-sanctioned by the Asian, European and Sunshine Tours.
“It was a good week. I did not win but it was still a very good experience to have played in this event.
“It’s always nice to venture out of Japan to play on the Asian Tour. We get to come to places like Mauritius and experience the wonders of the country where the hospitality, food and facilities are simply fantastic!” said Kawamura.
Kawamura, who won the 2013 Asia-Pacific Panasonic Open in Japan to earn a full card on the Asian Tour, surmounted a late charge on the final day of but it was a case of too little too late for the Japanese.
A final round five-under-par 66 was just not enough for the Japanese to lift his second Asian Tour title but it was nevertheless still a solid performance that bodes well for the long season ahead.
“This result has given me the confidence for the rest of the season. It’s good to have that considering my early season form,” said Kawamura, who had only made the cut twice out of four starts in 2015 prior to the AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open.
Singapore’s Mardan Mamat also enjoyed a fruitful week in Mauritius after finishing outright third.
Cheered on by his wife, the Singaporean veteran fired a closing 67 which left him one shot shy of the play-off spot.
However, it was still a promising result which was what the 47-year-old had set out to achieve at the start of the week.
“I have my wife Naz here, we had a holiday here, and at the same time I can make money and play golf.
“I’m very pleased this week. When I came here, I was practising at home and was striking it well and was hoping for a good result this week and I did it. This is the first tri-sanctioned and to finish in the top-five, I’m happy with it,” said Mardan, who moved up to 16th place on the Order of Merit.
India’s Rahil Gangjee also got his season back on track with a tied-11th finish at the Heritage Golf Club.
It was a welcome relief for Gangjee who had missed all the cuts in his previous four starts on the Asian Tour.
“I’ve got a lot to take from this week. It’s my first cut on the Asian Tour this year and it’s just very positive. There’s nothing else I can take away from this but positivity.
“I hit my driver and irons well, that’s the main thing. I’ll have a lesson with my coach when I get back before the Bashundhara Bangladesh Open,” said the Indian.
The Asian Tour will take a two-week break before heading to Dhaka, Bangladesh for the inaugural Bashundhara Bangladesh Open.
Asian Tour Order of Merit (Top-20)
Pos Player Earnings (US$)
- Anirban LAHIRI (IND) $772,300.00
- Andrew DODT (AUS) $366,319.16
- Scott HEND (AUS) $258,781.66
- S.S.P. CHAWRASIA (IND) $229,639.55
- Thongchai JAIDEE (THA) $207,670.00
- Richard T. LEE (CAN) $205,019.15
- Paul PETERSON (USA) $154,055.93
- Marcus FRASER (AUS) $115,771.43
- Wade ORMSBY (AUS) $109,700.00
- Prayad MARKSAENG (THA) $106,800.00
- Chapchai NIRAT (THA) $105,720.00
- Carlos PIGEM (ESP) $99,432.02
- Jason KNUTZON (USA) $96,723.73
- Nathan HOLMAN (AUS) $90,189.16
- Kiradech APHIBARNRAT (THA) $84,933.33
- Mardan MAMAT (SIN) $84,269.43
- Jeunghun WANG (KOR) $83,124.98
- Mithun PERERA (SRI) $80,698.79
- Thanyakon KHRONGPHA (THA) $71,785.58
- Kalem RICHARDSON (AUS) $64,155.93