Wherever the Kansai Open Golf Championship happens to be played, Brad Kennedy emerges as a contender.
The 2013 champion at Olympic Golf Club, Kennedy is one of just four Aussies teeing it up in this week’s Japan Golf Tour event that is being played at KOMA Country Club in Nara for the first time, the Queenslander joined by Matthew Griffin, David Bransdon and Anthony Quayle along with New Zealand’s Michael Hendry.
Kennedy’s Kansai Open win six years ago was his second in Japan, the tournament reduced to a 54-hole event due to weather.
In his title defence a year later Kennedy – who turns 45 next month – finished tied for third and then in 2015 he went better, finishing outright second behind Daisuke Kataoka.
His kinship with the Kansai Open continued in 2016 when he was tied for fifth at Hashimoto Country Club and in 2017 he registered his fifth consecutive top-five finish in the tournament when he was tied for fourth.
Closing in on ¥5 million in career earnings in Japan, Kennedy has made a solid start to his 2019 campaign without quote matching the type of results he has accumulated in the Kansai Open over the years.
Tied for 18th in both of his opening two starts in Japan this year, Kennedy was tied for 27th at the Asia Pacific Diamond Cup Golf where scoring was extremely difficult to now sit 28th on the Japan Tour moneylist.
Quayle is one spot ahead of his countryman in 27th spot with Matthew Griffin breathing down the neck of Brendan Jones, the pair sitting fourth and second respectively.
The PGA TOUR Series-China continues at Nantong Yangtze River Golf Club this week where 11 Australians and two Kiwis will contest the Nantong Championship.
On the back of his top-10 finish last week Queensland’s Christopher Wood is the best-placed Australian on the Order of Merit through five events in 25th position closely followed by Kevin Yuan (29th), James Marchesani (33rd) and rookie Charlie Dann (35th).
Max McCardle and Bryden Macpherson both sit inside the top-50 and are in the field this week as are Corey Hale, Tim Stewart, Aaron Wilkin, Hayden Webb and Aaron Pike along with New Zealand pair Luke Toomey and Sam An.
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