Ajeetesh Sandhu 20th at midway stage in Japan, Gangjee misses out

Ajeetesh Sandhu (Filepic by Asian Tour) and inset Kaito Onishi (JGTO)

Tokyo, Japan, May 13: Ajeetesh Sandhu made the halfway cut with a solid 1-under on top of his first round of even par 70 in Asia Pacific Open Golf Championship Diamond Cup.

Sandhu, winner of a Japan Challenge Tour event in 2017, is now 1-under for 36 holes and lies T-20 after two rounds.

India’s other player in the field, Rahil Gangjee, winner of a Panasonic Open Japan in 2018, however missed the cut by one shot despite a valiant finish with two birdies in last three holes. Bogeys around the middle of the round on ninth and 10th, cost him heavily. He was T-64th as Top-60 and ties made the cut.

Sandhu had two birdies against one bogey and at T-20 he is well placed to make a bid for a solid Top-10 or better finish.

Japan’s young new star Kaito Onishi added a three-under-par 67 to his opening day 65 to take the clubhouse lead at the Oarai Golf Club, near Tokyo. Onishi, joint overnight leader with countryman Hiroshi Iwata, began on hole 10 and impressively toured the back nine in four under with birdies on 10, 11, 15 and 18, and then reached 10 under for the tournament with a birdie on the third, before dropping shots on five and nine.

Onishi leads by two as Rikuya Hoshino (67-67), Yuki Inamori (70-64) and Todd Sinnott of Australia (66-68) were tied second at 6-under. Shugo Imahira (66-69) is fifth.

The 23-year-old Onishi, who is from Nagoya, turned professional last year after graduating from the University of Southern California, but he has been quick to adjust to professional golf. Most noticeably he was fourth in the ISPS HANDA Championship last month.

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