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New Delhi, India, April 5: Japan’s Kodai Ichihara is looking for a winning performance that will help support his donation efforts for victims affected by his country’s natural catastrophes at this week’s inaugural Panasonic Open (India).   

The 28-year-old Japanese has been making his own donations towards his country’s recovery efforts but hopes that a good performance at the Delhi Golf Club will provide him with more funds to continue doing so with the winner’s prize purse worth US$47,550.

“I’ve been doing my part in donating part of my earnings towards the relief effort for victims affected by the earthquake and tsunami in my country. Hopefully a win this week will allow me to contribute even more,” said Ichihara ahead of the newest US$300,000 event on the Asian Tour Schedule where it will be co-sanctioned by the Asian Tour and Professional Golf Tour of India (PGTI) from April 6 to 9 (Wednesday to Saturday).

As Japan continues to recover from the massive quake and tsunami that ravaged the country last month, Ichihara wants to show that the courage of the Japanese will prevail in times of such difficulties as well. 

“Life has to go on. We’ll overcome all setbacks and show the world that we are strong and our lives will return to normalcy,” said Ichihara who is bidding for his maiden win at the Panasonic Open (India).

Ichihara also paid tribute to Panasonic, a Japanese worldwide leader of electronic product manufacturers, for being instrumental in the title sponsorship of the inaugural event.

“It’s always nice to welcome a new event by a corporate sponsor. Being Japanese, I’m also excited about the involvement of a Japanese company on the Asian Tour. This will be a good starting point as they can see the value of the Asian Tour and hopefully support even more events in the future,” said Ichihara.

Meanwhile India’s S.SP. Chowrasia is hopeful of another good performance which will help extend his lead at the top of the Asian Tour Order of Merit.

Chowrasia has proven his liking for winning at home with his two Asian Tour victories coming on home soil and is looking for a hat-trick of wins at the Panasonic Open (India).

“It’s still early days in the season but it’ll be nice if I can give myself a good lead at the top. I’m playing well and it should be a good week,” said Chowrasia, a two-time Asian Tour winner.

Compatriot Sujjan Singh, who is lying closely behind Chowrasia in second place on the rankings, wants his dream run on the Tour to continue.

Singh earned his Tour card by finishing in tied-21st at Qualifying School earlier this year and got his rookie year off to the best of starts with a tied-fifth finish at the season-opening Avantha Masters.

Playing at home again this week, the 30-year-old Indian is eying another good performance which will help cement his place among the region’s elite players and the opportunities to play against them.

“It has been a great start to the year and I couldn’t have to ask for more. It’s good to always play at home as you get to sleep in a bed you know and I’ve a family that I’m staying with,” said Singh.

“There’s a lot of advantage being in the top-10 as you get to play the bigger events and it’s a good motivation for me to continue my form for the rest of the season,” added the Indian.

Panasonic, the worldwide leader of electronic product manufacturers, has committed to the title sponsorship in India as an extension of the brand’s involvement with professional golf in Asia as it also hosts the Asia-Pacific Panasonic Open in Japan, a tournament jointly sanctioned by the Asian Tour and Japan Golf Tour.

The top three players of the Panasonic Open (India) will be invited to play in Asia-Pacific Panasonic Open, scheduled from September 22 to 25 at Biwako Country Club in Shiga Prefecture.

Photo - Asian Tour 

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