Gangjee gears up to defend title at Panasonic Open in Japan
Kobe (Japan): Indian golfer Rahil Gangjee is hopeful of putting up a strong title defence despite a few changes to his game still being work in progress ahead of the 10th Panasonic Open that starts here on Thursday.
Gangjee sensationally ended a 14-year title drought when he claimed his second Asian Tour title at the tournament last year. The 40-year-old plans to dominate the field again, albeit on a different course, when he tees off for the 150,000,000 yen (approx. USD 1,338,067) event.
"I think I'm done being the defending champion. I think it's time to be champion again. I am really looking forward to it. It's coming together for me the last few weeks," he said.
"I started from just making the cuts to finishing midway and then top-20 and top-10 two weeks ago. It's nice to be back defending my title this week. I still remember that bunker shot which was a surprise to me," he added.
Gangjee spoke about the changes he has made to his game.
"I went to my coach, maybe two three months ago. And what we worked on a few things that has kind of set in now. I wouldn't say I'm 100 per cent now but I'm getting there. So it's a work in progress, but I'm really comfortable now," he said.
Gangjee will spearhead the 132-man field alongside Jazz Janewattananond of Thailand, Australian Scott Hend, Yosuke Asaji of Japan and Korea's Taehee Lee, who are the leading four players on the current Asian Tour Order of Merit.
More than 50 Asian Tour winners will feature in the talented field and they include Zach Murray of Australia and Rory Hie, who became the first Indonesian player to win on the Asian Tour when he triumphed in India two weeks ago.
The top-three finishers upon the conclusion of the 2019 Panasonic Open Golf Championship will share a bonus pool of USD 150,000 where they will earn USD 70,000, USD 50,000 and USD 30,000 respectively via the reward scheme.
Thailand's Poom Saksansin leads the current rankings with 2,919 points while countrymen Panuphol Pittayarat lurks in second and Jazz in third.