First taste of Open has teenager hungry for more

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 20 November, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 20 November, 2010, 12:00am

Despite the odd rush of teenage blood, amateur Shinichi Mizuno claimed local bragging rights after a level-par second round left the West Island School student as Hong Kong's leading player.

The Japan-born 17-year-old, the only amateur in the 144-man field, followed up an opening round three-over 73 to finish the best of Hong Kong's eight representatives.

Despite starting his second round with a bogey, Discovery Bay Golf Club member Mizuno (pictured) bounced back and lifted himself to two-under-par through 13 holes until two late bogeys - including one at the last - led to a finish tied alongside China's Liang Wenchong at three-over-par overall to miss the cut by five strokes.

'I enjoyed myself a lot. Once I got to two under I was trying to get more birdies rather than enjoying it and I am a little disappointed with that. I was too much in a rush,' said the scratch handicapper. 'But I am very proud of myself to be the top Hong Kong player.

'I would like to come back and play again and try to make the cut. I need to learn to be patient and enjoy myself and not try to score as I am only playing as an amateur.

'Compared to when I normally play the course, the greens were much faster. The fairways were normal but once you got in the deep rough it is easy to get flyers. The course was also pretty firm and you couldn't get any backspin.'

Mizuno, who has his sights set on turning professional when he finishes college in five years, played both opening rounds with 2009 Malaysian Open champion Anthony Kang and had a front-row seat as the Korean-born American blazed nine birdies in a flawless 61 to sit just a shot behind leader Ian Poulter at the halfway stage.

'He is very straight and I liked his demeanour on the course,' Kang said of Mizuno. 'He hit a lot of good putts that didn't fall. It is easy to get discouraged by that, but he kept his head up and he had some nice touches around the green.

'At that age you are not going to have the strength to hit it too long, but that is going to come when he develops a lot more muscle. But he has a very nice game which is exactly what you need, so I see a big future for him.'