The Philippine Star – Reigning Asian Tour No. 1 Juvic Pagunsan endured a nervous wait before celebrating a breakthrough weekend appearance in his maiden Open Championship at the Royal Lytham St. Annes in the UK Friday.
The sweet-swinging Filipino thought he had blown his chances of making the cut in the year’s third Major after a three-putt bogey on the last hole of his second round led to a two-over-par 72 and a two-day total of three-over-par 143.
As he was the second group out in the morning, Pagunsan had to wait for over nine hours to eventually find out that he had squeezed into the last two rounds on the number which was switching between 142 and 143 late in the day.
Korean star K.J. Choi, who also bogeyed his last hole en route to a 73, was also in the same boat as Pagunsan as he amassed a two-day total of 143.
Pagunsan, 34, struggled in the cold with three bogeys in his first seven holes before fighting back with successive birdies on eight and nine. He traded two more birdies against as many bogeys through 17 and a par at the last would have placed him in a good position.
Pagunsan was crestfallen after his round.
“I wanted to make a par there to finish at two over but I made a three putt. A bit disappointing. My first putt was too strong. I thought it was going to be a bit slow as it was uphill and then a bit downhill. But my ball passed the hill and then just rolled down. It wasn’t slow,” he said.
The Filipino added that he did not have any feel with his hands when he teed off at 6:41 a.m. due to the cold. “This morning it was really bad. That’s why I made a few bogeys. My hands could not feel the club. It was really hard. It got better on eight. At the start, my body was freezing but I was so happy with the way I played after that.
“I just kept playing, didn’t really know what the cut mark was. Hopefully I can make it but it will depend on the scores later today. It will be a good experience if I can play in the weekend. It’s been a good experience, first time in a big event. I really appreciate the invitation into a Major event.”
With his dream coming through, Pagunsan could only hope for a bigger weekend.
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