Chan began Sunday T9, three shots behind the leader, but with five birdies on the front nine, he was in the mix. By the time he reached the 560-yard, par-5 18th, it was down to Chan and Naoyuki Kataoka in the leader group.
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Chan hit a great tee shot and later remarked, “I think it was the best shot I made throughout the whole 4 rounds.” While Chan was centre fairway, Naoyuki’s shot went left into the trees. Chan’s second shot from 215 yards gave him a 5-meter eagle chance which he converted.
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Chan was No.1 in driving distance in 2016-17, and 2019, but is now behind Takahiro Hataji. But Chan doesn’t mind. “I value accuracy over yardage now.” Still, he averaged 306.14 yards through this week.
Chan enjoyed the battle with Naoyuki. “He is a fighter and splendid player. I had to put on a poker face and let him think I was confident.”
Chan was one of the first international players who took a risk and came back to Japan during the pandemic. He re-joined the Tour from the SMBC VISA Taiheiyo Masters in 2020 and finished 4th.
He finished fifth at last year’s Dunlop Phoenix and won the 2020 JT Cup. This year, he was busy with the Majors, and after his return in August won the Vantelin Tokai Classic in October. “I am glad I came back last year.”
Chan suffered an injury in 2017 and had to miss the remainder of the season and 2018. But this season, he has a new method to stay healthy by partial fasting. “I only eat between 1 pm to 7 pm. Other than that, I drink water, coffee and tea.”
He started this method during the US Open in June. He was 112kg in April but now weighs 97kg. “I lost 15kg and I wake up bright and shine in the morning,” said Chan.
The winner’s jacket fitted well on Chan’s slim physique and had him saying, “This win will give me a boost. I will keep doing my best and try and become the order of merit champion through the remaining two tournaments.”