Off-season work reflects in Juvic Pagunsan’s promising start

Juvic Pagunsan - TheGolfingHub
Juvic Pagunsan, 44, fired a five-under-par 66 at the Grand Fields Country Club to sit in an early share of second place at the Japan PGA Championship.

Filipino veteran Juvic Pagunsan continued his resurgence on JGTO this season when he got off to a promising start at the weather-hit Japan PGA Championship on Thursday.

Pagunsan, 44, fired a five-under-par 66 at the Grand Fields Country Club to sit in an early share of second place.

Taiki Yoshida is the clubhouse leader with a six-under 65.

Pagunsan had three birdies on the first, fourth and eighth before picking up two more on his return journey at the 13th and 16th to complete a bogey-free round.

The Filipino was pleased after signing for his best score of the season.

“I’m very happy with how I performed today, this is my lowest score yet this year,” said Pagunsan.

“I didn’t putt too well, but still able to get five birdies. I also saved pars to make my mistakes, so that summed up a great, great round.

“My ball-striking was really good today. It made a difference. I hit a lot of fairways with my driver.”

Pagunsan has been struggling to make an impact in the early season, missing the cut in the first five appearances and did not finish in another.

But he did end the first half of the season on a positive note by coming in tied-20th at the ASO Iizuka Challenged Golf Tournament.

Pagunsan underlined his determination to come back stronger by revealing that he hardly took a break during the season interval.

“I kept playing and practicing throughout the break. I played some local events back home to keep my game sharp,” said Pagunsan, who won last year’s Mizuno Open for his sole JGTO victory to date.

“I enjoyed one good finish, tying for fourth with Angelo (Que) in one of them.

“It’s my goal to make amends after a slow start in the first half of the season. Hopefully, I’ll play well enough to win again.”

51 players were not able to complete their play as the opening round lost close to two-and-a-half hours of play due to thunderstorms.

American Han Lee and Zimbabwean Scott Vincent are the next highest placed international players as they are at two-under with one and three holes to play respectively.