Apr 23, 2017: Japan’s Kenichi Kuboya kept the Panasonic OPEN Japan trophy on home soil when he defeated compatriot Katsumasa Miyamoto at the first play-off hole on Sunday.
Victory at the ¥150 million (approximately US$1.37 million) event was the first for the 45-year-old in five years and also provided him with much relief as he was facing the prospect of losing his winner’s exemption status on the Japan Golf Tour Organisation (JGTO) this year.
Kuboya produced a final day heroics when he signed for a seven-under-par 64 to force a play-off with Miyamoto who compiled a four-day total of 11-under-par 273 at the Chiba Country Club.
Kuboya then gained the early advantage when Miyamoto hit his tee shot out of bounds at the first play-off hole.
After finding further trouble with his second tee shot which landed behind the tree and with Kuboya reaching the green in three, Miyamoto would concede defeat to Kuboya who could even afford to three-putt for a bogey to win.
Philippines’ Juvic Pagunsan had a closing eagle-three on 18 to thank for lifting him to tied-sixth place, which was also his second top-10 finish in Japan in two weeks.
Did you know?
- Kuboya’s final round 64 was his best score all week and also his first bogey-free round at the Panasonic OPEN Japan.
- Kuboya has won seven times on the JGTO and his last victory dates back to 2012 at the Japan Open.
- Siddikur made it into the weekend rounds right at the cut-line after earlier rounds of 72 and 70. He started his final round eight shots back in tied-37th place but would finish inside the top-10 by the end of the week.
- Prayad has emerged victorious on Japanese soil on eight occasions with four wins coming from the Senior Tour in Japan.
- The Thai started the round just one shot off the lead but two bogeys on holes 14 and 18 put paid to any hopes of adding another victory in Japan this week.