What began as a three-month effort to establish himself on the Japanese Tour and became an eight-month odyssey in the process has ended on the highest of highs for Sydney’s Andrew Evans.
Playing in the final stage of the 2022 Japan Golf Tour Qualifying School at the Tom Watson Golf Course in Miyazki, Evans has stormed home with a tear away final-round seven-under 65 to claim first place and a cheque for Y1,000,000.
After rounds of 73, 70 and 72 left the Bonnie Doon gun trailing the leader by six, Evans, who claimed the Queensland Open earlier this year, said a calculated change of strategy just before the final round was the genesis of the stellar result.
He said he felt he’d played well all week, but admitted he had no choice but to attack in the final round on the testing Watson layout.
“I prepared well on the driving range this morning, and thought I’ll change my mindest to think less golf, relax a little, and be aggressive.”
“I was able to play a bit more freely today than in the first three days and it has led to this result,” he explained to the Japanese golf media post-round of his eight birdie- one bogey blitz.
“It was a tough course, but it suited my game.
“Super tight and built in a Forrest of pines. Dormant rough, and if the ball found it, it would kick sideways into the pines, and you’d have to chip out.
“It brought the longer hitters back to my drive because they could only hit 2/3 irons,” he smiled.
This week’s Q School visit was Evans fifth attempt to secure a start on one of the world’s most lucrative tours and easily his most successful effort.
Although not immediately confirmed, Evans said the spoils for actually winning meant he would likely bypass the traditional re-ranks which occur at the beginning of every new season.
“There are two re-ranks, but I believe as the tour school winner I don’t get re-ranked. I’m just waiting to hear if that’s true.
“A couple of the guys are saying I will get the entire season except ZOZO and the Japan Open.
“There’s a big difference between first and second. There was going to be a playoff if I wasn’t a shot clear.”
Kyriacou maintaining touch in Alabama.
Meanwhile, down in Alabama, Steph Kyriacou remains in touch with the leaders and is well on track to secure playing privileges on the LPGA tour for 2022.
With six rounds down and two to go, the St Michael’s tyro is tied for 17th at ten under, still a comfortable seven shots inside the all-important top 45 and within three of the top-10.
Kyriacou opened week two of the mammoth eight-round event with a two-over 74 before adding a one-over-par 73 overnight.
Frenchwoman Pauline Roussin-Bouchard leads the qualifying at 27 under, two shots in front of Korea’s Na Rin An. Thailand’s Atthaya Thitikul, who claimed the LET Order of Merit Title this year, is in third place at 22 under, while former NSW and Australian Amateur Champion Hye Jin Choi sits in fourth at 19 under.