Dunlop Phoenix Open: Rahil Gangjee makes cut in Japan

India’s Rahil Gangjee carded a one-over 72 to negotiate the first hurdle of getting into the weekend rounds of the Dunlop Phoenix Open.

At one-over 143, Gangjee, winner of the Panasonic Open Japan in 2018, is T-47th. (File picture)   -  G.P. Sampath Kumar

India’s Rahil Gangjee carded a one-over 72 to negotiate the first hurdle of getting into the weekend rounds of the Dunlop Phoenix Open here on Friday.

At one-over 143, Gangjee, winner of the Panasonic Open Japan in 2018, is T-47th.

Last week, Gangjee played the Taiheiyo Masters, his first event after a gap of 35 weeks.

“I had to spend two weeks in quarantine here in Japan, before I started. I was rusty, but things are looking better this week. It has been a hard year and we are getting very few events this season, which will end soon. The 2021 season begins in April.”

READ: Gangjee starts with modest 71 in Japan

On his arrival into Japan, Gangjee said, “I arrived at Narita airport on October 20 and did the Covid test at the airport and I had to wait for 3 hours.

“Then I got a rental car and drove straight for seven and a half hours to Hyogo Prefecture to the Joyx Golf Club where I quarantined for 14 days.

“This is a course about two hours from Kobe. It is in the middle of nowhere and in the middle of hills. After the end of the quarantine I played last week and now this week.”

Gangee hoped things will look up in the coming weeks.

“Almost 20 events were cancelled. I am happy to finally be playing competitive golf. Hopefully things will be better in the coming months,” he said.

Tomohiro Ishizaka (67-66) played his second straight bogey free round to lie nine-under and one ahead of Thai pro Gunn Charoenkul, who arrived into Japan armed with 300 masks among other Covid protection material.

Gunn shot 67-67 and was second, while first-round leader Atomu Shigenaga (65-74) slipped to T-20.

Dunlop Phoenix is one of the most prestigious tournaments on Japan Tour and it was won by Tiger Woods in 2004 and 2005, while Brooks Koepka won it in 2016 and 2017.