On July 9th and July 10th, GOLF Partner hosted the 2020 Exhibition Tournament with JAPAN GOLF TOUR ORGANIZATION (JGTO) as the co-sponsor. This was originally intended to be a Professional and Amateur tournament, but to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the tournament was replaced with a professionals only exhibition tournament. The exhibition tournament was held at Toride Kokusai Golf Course in Tsukuba, Japan, a little north from Tokyo. There were familiar faces competing against each other in the rainy weather.
The 22 Year Old Wins It All
There were many notable players present including Ryo Ishikawa and Yusaku Miyazato but 22 year old Naoki Sekito took home the win. He played very well on the second day with 9 birdie’s and no bogey’s (61) which led him to victory. Although considered a newcomer on the professional stage, Yusaku won the Yamaguchi-ken Open in Japan last year. This experience has helped him grow in recognition and is considered a threat among the professional golfers. Sekito described his performance during the victory interview, “My shots do not fly as far, but they don’t curve, which is one of my strengths. With the driver, I think my shots are about 290 yards. I try to stick to the driver mainly throughout the match.” Considered a driver “expert”, his expertise overshadows the tough luck he faced in the past. In high school, he suffered from driver ips, making him unable to compete in the professional level right after he graduated and trained on his driver skills in Australia. Winning this exhibition tournament is surely a great achievement for him and we are excited to watch him compete in the upcoming tournaments.
Notable Players and Their Results
- Tomoyo Ikemura ended up with a 62 on the last day with 8 birdie’s and was placed in 5th (tie). He commented, “In a time like this where sports cannot be played like before, even if it is an exhibition with no audience, I am thankful and happy for letting us do the job that we love.”
- Ryo Ishikawa struggled with 4 birdie’s, 3 bogey’s, and 1 double bogey (71) and came in 35th; the last match he played in was “The Honda Classic” in March. “One option is to make the 140 yard a strength of mine so I will work on that in the next 2 months,” he says, as he prepares for the upcoming tournament in California.
- Yusaku Miyazato finished with 1 under par coming in 74th place.
First Step To Bringing Back Golf
This exhibition tournament was a 2-Day 36 hole stroke play with a total of 96 competitors.The total prize money was 20 million yen (winning prize money of 3.6 million yen) with no on-site spectators and was aired live on YouTube. This was a huge step towards bringing the sport of golf back into the country since the start of the pandemic. And of course, every player was tested to keep each and every competitor safe. We at GOLF Partner, alongside JAPAN GOLF TOUR ORGANIZATION, are blessed to have had the opportunity to host this event and if you were able to catch it live, we hope you enjoyed it! We are looking forward to hosting more events in the near future so stay tuned and stay safe!