Eye on JT Cup, Justin De Los Santos chasing a first on JGTO

Justin De Los Santos - TheGolfingHub
Playing in his second full season in Japan, Justin De Los Santos impressed by notching four top-six finishes in 14 appearances. Photo: JGTO

With his playing privileges for next season on JGTO all but secured, Philippines’ Justin De Los Santos will be setting his sights next on getting into the season-ending Golf Nippon Series JT Cup for the first time.

The JT Cup, which will be held at the Tokyo Yomiuri Country Club from Dec 1-4, will feature only the top-30 players on the JGTO Money Rankings.

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And the 27-year-old De Los Santos is in line to qualify as he currently sits 31st in the standings heading into this week’s Mynavi ABC Championship at the ABC Golf Club in Kato, Hyogo.

Playing in his second full season in Japan, he impressed by notching four top-six finishes in 14 appearances notably coming in solo third at the For The Players By The Players last month.

With four tournaments left to play prior to the JT Cup, De Los Santos knows he has to keep producing good results in order to crack the top 30.

De Los Santos will be determined to boost his ranking through the Mynavi ABC Championship as he won’t be in the Mitsui Sumitomo VISA Taiheiyo Masters field next week.

The other international players teeing up at ABC Golf Club with the same intention include 39th-placed Sanghee Lee and Hyunwoo Ryu (49th) of South Korea, Jbe Kruger (44th) of South Africa, American Han Lee (51st) and Juvic Pagunsan (56th).

The current leading five internationals in top-30 are Australian pair Brad Kennedy (13th) and Anthony Quayle (14th), American Chan Kim (22nd), Scott Vincent (25th) of Zimbabwe and American Todd Baek (29th).

Of the five, only Kennedy, Quayle and Baek enter the fray this week as they spearhead the international charge for the season’s only second victory.

Vincent remains the only international winner this year after triumphing at the Mizuno Open in May.

Headlining the local field this week will be none other than the in-form Taiga Semikawa, who’s set for his professional debut in his hometown, on Monday.

Semikawa, 21, made the decision to join the play-for-pay ranks on the back of two sensational back-to-back victories as an amateur at the Panasonic Open and Japan Open.

He wasted no time declaring that he aims nothing less than a victory and out to make it three wins on the trot.

“I’m looking forward to winning again in my debut tournament,” he vowed.

“Now that I have turned pro, I will work even harder than ever so that the fans will be happy and look forward to seeing me play. I will do my best.

“I am very happy to be able to make my professional debut at the Mynavi ABC Championship, which will be held in Kato City, Hyogo Prefecture, my hometown.”