Juvic Pagunsan sets pace in race for P15M top prize in Japan Open; Angelo Que in joint third
Filipino pro Juvic Pagunsan hits seven birdies against one bogey in the opening round at Rokko Kokusai Golf Club.

JUVIC Pagunsan put up a solid six-under 66 to set the pace in the Japan Open Golf Championship on Thursday in Kobe.

Angelo Que also came up with a fine start, firing a bogey-free 68 to sit in joint third in the ¥200,000,000 event (over P77 million).

Pagunsan was one stroke ahead of Ryutaro Nagano, while Que shared third with Koumei Oda, Hwang Ung-gon, Cho Min Gyu and Yuta Ikeda.

A former Asian Tour No. 1, Pagunsan sank four birdies in his homeward nine after going two under on his first nine, his only bogey coming on the par-3 No. 17 of the Rokko Kokusai Golf Club East Course.

The fine start put the 37-year-old Pagunsan in position to erase the heartbreak of 2012, when the shotmaker from Bacolod placed second in the Japan Open behind Kenichi Kuboya.

Pagunsan has also come close to victory in Japan this year with a joint fifth finish in the Kansai Open in Shiga.

[See Juvic Pagunsan winds up in joint fifth, Angelo Que 18th in Japan Golf Tour event]

Que, meanwhile, had two birdies on each nine to sit two shots behind Pagunsan in the tournament offering ¥40,000,000 (around P15 million) to the winner.

Thrice a winner on the Asian Tour and going for his first on the Japan Tour, Que is also looking to make it all the way to the top after a second place in the Handa Global Cup in Hokuto in May.

[See Angelo Que narrowly misses title in Japan Golf Tour, bags P3.6 million prize for second place]

Follow the writer on Twitter: @spin_drin