Malaysia’s Danny Chia took a huge step in his quest to get back on the Japan Golf Tour with a superb winning performance in the first qualifying stage tournament at Itsuura Teien Country Club in Fukushima.
Danny was in excellent form as he carded rounds of 72, 65, 70 and 67 for a 14-under-par total to top the final standings by one shot from Japan’s Masamichi Ito. The top nine finishers and ties from the 79-player field progress to the final qualifying tournament on December 8-11 at The Royal Golf Club in Ibaraki, where they will be joined by qualifiers from five other first stage tournaments.
“I was striking the ball solidly this week and my putting was good as well, except in the first round. Overall I’m really happy with how I played,” said Danny, who turns 48 on November 29.
Danny holds a full card on the Japan Golf Tour’s secondary circuit, the AbemaTV Tour, and is hoping to regain full status on the lucrative main tour where he played in 2018. Last year, he made it to the six-round final qualifying tournament but failed to progress beyond the 72-hole cut. This year’s final qualifying tournament will only be contested over 72 holes.
With no events on the card until the final qualifying tournament, Danny noted that he intends to go for regular treatments for a niggling back problem, in addition to practising and training. Last month, he played with a sore back in the AbemaTV Tour’s final event of the season, the Delight Works Challenge, and missed the cut.
“I’ll be going for Japanese physiotherapy over the next few weeks to make sure my back doesn’t act up again,” said the former Malaysian No 1.
Since turning professional in 1996, Danny has set a host of milestones for the country including becoming the first Malaysian to play all four rounds of a Major in the 2010 Open Championship at St Andrews. He is also the only Malaysian to have won twice on the Asian Tour with his victories in the 2002 Acer Taiwan Open and 2015 Mercuries Taiwan Masters.