Hisatsune gets off to stunning start in Ras Al Khaimah

The DP World Tour Qualifying School graduate made the most of favourable scoring conditions at Al Hamra Golf Club on Thursday, firing nine birdies

By Team KT

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Ryo Hisatsune. — Supplied photo
Ryo Hisatsune. — Supplied photo

Published: Thu 2 Feb 2023, 7:05 PM

Ryo Hisatsune began the week with six successive birdies as he posted a stunning 64 to lead by two shots after the first round of the 2023 Ras Al Khaimah Championship.

The DP World Tour Qualifying School graduate made the most of favourable scoring conditions at Al Hamra Golf Club on Thursday, firing nine birdies before dropping his only shot of the day at the 18th after an errant tee-shot to finish on eight under par.


The Japanese 20-year-old got his early birdie run started with a tap-in at the first before holing from 17 feet for another on the second. He then took advantage of the long third for a hat-trick of birdies and sent his tee-shot at the par-three fourth to eight feet before holing the putt.

He then holed a five-footer at the fifth before making it six in a row on the sixth, with further birdies coming on the eighth, 10th and 15th, before his sole dropped shot on the last.


"It was so unreal,” said Hisatsune. “I was just hitting shots, holing putts. Every time I made it. It was so amazing. It’s the first time I’ve had six birdies in a row. It’s my first event of the year and I was a little nervous at the start, but it was an easy start. So lucky.

"(After that start) I thought keep going. On the back nine there are some tough holes. I had to keep making shots, making pars. On the last hole I was so nervous, but it was just a bogey so OK for me.”

Hisatsune, who finished in a tie for second at the Fortinet Australian PGA Championship back in November, is two shots ahead of Dane Rasmus Højgaard, Italian Edoardo Molinari and England's Matthew Baldwin.

“Today I made some putts for a change,” said Molinari.

“I feel like I’ve been playing well the last couple of weeks, especially last week I hit the ball well but just couldn’t read the greens. This week so far it seems better.

"It’s more challenging than last year. There is more rough, they have narrowed down some of the fairways. There is one new tee on 13, which makes a huge difference for a guy like me. Last year I couldn’t reach the greens. Up against Nicolai (Højgaard) and Ryan (Fox) you feel like you are almost starting half a shot behind every day, so it does make a difference. I’m enjoying it.”

Ryan Fox, who tasted success in Ras Al Khaimah last year, was another stroke further back on five under along with Callum Shinkwin, Alexander Björk, Kazuki Higa, Oliver Bekker and Oliver Hundebøll.

Fans are invited to register for free tickets to the tournament here with ticketholders receiving 25% off both the Jais Sledder and Jais Flight by visiting the Jebel Jais Adventure Park tent in the Tournament Village during the Ras Al Khaimah Championship.


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