Juvic Pagunsan earns first Japan Golf Tour win after a decade, playing just 11 clubs in his bag
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Juvic Pagunsan earns first Japan Golf Tour win after a decade, playing just 11 clubs in his bag

Juvic Pagunsan is a first-time winner on the Japan Golf Tour after a decade on the circuit -- and he did it playing just 11 golf clubs in his bag.

Carrying his own bag, Pagunsan won the Mizuno Open on the Japanese circuit on Sunday after starting the final round of the 54-hole event with a three-shot lead. He finished on 17-under 199, beating Ryutaro Nagano.

The Philippines native, just like all Japan Golf Tour players, do not have access to caddies due to COVID-19 restrictions put in place. Players have the option of using a walking cart or a battery-powered electric walking cart, but Pagunsan chose to carry his own bag because of the limitations on where the carts can go around the green.

To lighten the load of carrying his own bag, Pagunsan chose to take out his 3-, 4-, 6- and 8-irons, while adding in a 19-degree hybrid.

"Well, I am getting older, so it's better to be lighter," Pagunsan said, according to the Japan Golf Tour.

Golfers are allowed to carry up to 14 clubs in their bag, which is the maximum under the Rules of Golf. The minimum number of clubs is technically one.

"What do I do when I need 6-iron? Well. I will just adjust it by using different club. On [the] 11th, wind was blowing at me and I had 160 yards to play, and I used my 5-iron. What choice do I have?"

Pagunsan turned pro in 2006 and joined the Japan Golf Tour in 2012. Now 43, he had notched five runner-up finishes, including one this season. With the win, Pagunsan also earned a spot in the Open Championship in July as part of the R&A's Open Qualifying Series.

He will celebrate with his family over video chat, as he's unable to return home to the Philippines without a quarantine period.

"I talk to them on video phone every night, I just pray for their safety," Pagunsan said. "Even I go back I have to go under 2 weeks of restriction period, just like Japan. I am afraid that I might not be able to go home until December."

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