The 43-year-old Filipino produced a wonderful story as he booked a return to The Open by ending a 10-year wait for his first Japan Tour title in May at the Mizuno Open.
Pagunsan, whose last appearance in the Championship came at Royal Liverpool in 2014, dispensed with the services of a caddie and carried a bag containing only 11 clubs. Because of COVID-19 restrictions, he could have used a buggy, but instead took out his 3-, 4-, 6- and 8-irons and employed a 19-degree utility club.
“I’m getting older and with 14 clubs it’s really heavy,” he explained. “I don’t like to use the electric carts since you have to go all the way around the greens.”
Two weeks earlier Pagunsan narrowly missed out on securing a place at Royal St George’s when Rikuya Hoshino pushed him into second spot at the Asia Pacific Diamond Cup. Although he then qualified at the Mizuno Open, he subsequently withdrew from the Championship.
He was the 2011 winner of the Asian Tour Order of Merit, in a season when he lost a play-off for the Barclays Singapore Open to Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano. Five years before that Pagunsan marked his European Tour debut with a runner-up finish behind Jose Manuel Lara at the Hong Kong Open.