Blazers In Japan With Thomas Sutton

Thomas Sutton will provide a first-hand perspective daily.

Sep 13, 2013

TANAGURA, Japan - The UAB men's golf team will begin the 2013-14 season with an once-in-a-lifetime experience at the Topy Cup in Japan. Redshirt senior Thomas Sutton will chronicle the team's trip across the Pacific Ocean daily.

Friday, Sept. 13
"The team ended up coming in third place, one shot behind Washington. We shot four-over as a team in the final round. The course was playing much tougher because of the pin locations. Sam Love led the team, shooting six-under for three rounds, coming in thirrd place. Wilson McDonald shot three-under and came in eighth, I was two-under and in 10th, Martin Rohwer was even and in 15th, and Paul Dunne was four-over and came in 23rd."

"The team played a great tournament. We had a shot to win, which is what you want going into the last round. We didn't win, but I think being in contention gives us confidence that we can play with any team."

"After the final round, all the American teams rode the bullet train to Tokyo. We have been here for 24 hours, and it has been so cool. Last night we just walked around Tokyo. Today, we have been up since 6 a.m. exploring the city.  This morning we went to the tallest building in Japan called the Sky Tree. All of us but Wilson went up 450 meters high. He is afraid of heights and bailed at the last second. We then rode the Subway to Tokyo Station and walked around before getting on a tour bus. After the bus, we went to Tokyo's "Black Market" called the Ameya-yokocho.  They sold everything from squid to cowboy boots."

"We just finished dinner and haven't decided what to do next, but we think we will be going to the fish market at 4:30 tomorrow morning. We fly home tomorrow around 2 p.m."

Wednesday, Sept. 11
"The team played great again. After two rounds, we are one shot behind Washington going in to the third and final round, and Sam Love has a two-shot lead individually. He is at eight-under par for tournament. The team shot nine-under today, which is really good for this course.  Wilson shot four-under par, Sam and I were three-under, and Martin and Paul shot one-over."

"Tonight, the tournament set up a dinner in which we made the food ourselves. They separated the players so that we met new people, and so the Japanese players could teach us how to cook and eat the food. We made a food called Sukiyaki, which is beef, vegetables, and raw egg. We also rolled our own sushi rolls, which was delicious. I think the team really enjoyed this, as it was such a cool experience."

Tuesday, Sept. 10
"The team played well the first round of the Topy Cup. Sam shot five-under and Martin was three-under. Paul, Wilson, and I all were one-over."

"Today we played with three other Japanese teams. It was a strange to not be able to communicate with your playing partners. There was a lot of pointing at stuff and trying to talk with your hands. In Japan, it is customary to exchange gifts with your playing partners. I received nice chop sticks and some sort of food seasoning. We gave the guys UAB logo golf balls."

"The tournament is put on very well and is a very big deal to the Japanese people. There were a good amount of spectators and a ton of volunteers. They treat us very well. Even the Japanese teams we play against treat us like guests. They don't let us put the flag sticks back, and they sand a lot of our divots."

Monday, Sept. 9
"The tournament starts today and yesterday was a blast. I ate fermented soybeans and fish eggs for breakfast, well, tried them at least."

"The golf course is so nice, I really like it. I have met some Japanese players and they are pretty cool. It is so odd that almost no one can speak our language."

"After golf, Wilson, Paul, Martin, and I went to the spa. We walked in with our swim suits and realized we were the only ones wearing clothes, so we just embraced Japanese culture and went with it. Then we went to a banquet and had a huge buffet with a mix of American and Japanese food."

Sunday, Sept. 8
"The team arrived last night around 8 p.m. local time. It took about 16 hours in the air and a four-hour drive to get to Tanagura, so it was a long day. It is 5 a.m. here now and we leave for the course in two hours for our practice round."

"The five guys (Sutton, Paul Dunne, Sam Love, Wilson McDonald, and Martin Rohwer) are all staying in a cottage, which consists of five beds in one room and a bathroom. It has already been a cool experience, and we are looking forward to a good week."

Check back daily for updates on the UAB men's golf team and to hear from Sutton's first-hand perspective.

For the latest news on Blazer sports, follow the UAB Athletics Twitter account: @UABathletics. For men's golf news, follow @UAB_MensGolf.