Victorian David Bransdon has four weeks to secure his immediate future on the Japan Golf Tour as he prepares to tee it up for the first time in the Mitsui Sumitomo VISA Taiheiyo Masters in Shizuoka.
Bransdon is one of six Australasians in the field at the Gotemba Course at the Taiheiyo Golf Club, a field that also boasts Japanese superstar Hideki Matsuyama who won this tournament as an amateur in 2011 and again as a professional two years ago.
Finishing high up on the leaderboard will be paramount to Bransdon this week as he currently sits in 58th position on the Japan Golf Tour moneylist, only just inside the cut-off for the top-60 who keep their cards for the following season.
Bransdon didn’t play in the Taiheiyo Masters 12 months ago and will be hoping that it is a course that fits his eye.
In what has been a difficult year to date, Bransdon’s only top-20 finish of the year came at the Token Homemate Cup back in April and he needs to build some breathing space between himself and those fighting to break into the top-60.
One of those players is Kiwi Michael Hendry, currently ranked 63rd but with positive memories from his Taiheiyo Masters debut last year.
After an opening round of 67 Hendry spent the entire week domiciled inside the top-10 on the leaderboard, his closing 68 lifting him into a tie for third and almost Y12 million in prizemoney.
Another with a strong history at the Taiheiyo Club is Brendan Jones, one of four Australians to have tasted success at the venue.
Graham Marsh, Roger Mackay and Greg Norman each won the tournament in the space of seven years from 1987, a period that also saw Seve Ballesteros and Jose Maria Olazabal walk away with the trophy.
Since his win in 2007, Jones has finished inside the top-10 on five separate occasions including a runner-up finish in 2010.
Currently 19th on the moneylist, Jones is wedged six spots behind fellow Aussie Brad Kennedy and six spots ahead of Matthew Griffin who will also look to advance their position this week.
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