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Yokoo holds on to win Dunlop Phoenix title

Tiger Woods fired a final-round 67 but failed to mount a serious challenge to Kaname Yokoo, who hung on to win the $1.65 million Dunlop Phoenix tournament by one stroke from Sergio Garcia on Sunday.

World number one Woods made birdies at the third, seventh and eighth holes in a bogey-free round but missed a four-foot putt for birdie on the ninth that effectively ended his bid at the par-71 Phoenix Country Club in Miyazaki.

Overnight leader Yokoo, who played in the U.S. this year but failed to retain his tour card for 2003, survived three bogeys on the back nine -- including a shaky six at the par-five 18th -- to card a 69 and finish at 15-under-par 269.

Victory was worth $330,000 to the Japanese golfer and was some consolation after a frustrating season on the U.S. PGA Tour.

Garcia, meanwhile, produced seven birdies in a spirited 66 but dropped shots at the par-three third and on the 10th ultimately proved costly for the Spaniard, who finished runner-up to European Ryder Cup team mate Thomas Bjorn here in 1999.

"Not second place again! I wanted to win this so badly this year but I will come back and win this tournament," said the 22-year-old, who collected $115,000 to take his prize money for 2002 to more than $2.5 million.

Darren Clarke, who had began the day one stroke behind Yokoo after a 65 on Saturday, never got going in the final round and settled for a 71 he described as "terrible" to finish tied for fourth with fellow Briton Justin Rose on 272.

Rose started and finished with bogeys in an otherwise impressive 67 that was not quite good enough to bring the young Englishman his fifth title of the season.

Woods, who was making his third appearance in Japan after the 1998 Casio World Open and the World Cup of golf last year, knew he had blown his chance of putting together another final-day charge after missing an easy birdie putt on the ninth.

"I needed that putt to get to nine-under. (Yokoo) had already gone to 17-under, so it left me pretty far behind," said the American, whose only birdie on the back nine came at the 13th.

"Even if I had made a run, Justin, Sergio and Darren were all playing well, so it would have been really tough to try and get myself back into it."

Yokoo had given himself breathing space with four consecutive birdies from the par-five fourth.

"That run gave me a nice cushion. I am a long way from being in the same class as some of the top (foreign) players who came," said Yokoo.

"That is the first time I've beaten Tiger Woods but it's the off-season for him and we are playing in Japan. Hopefully I can do it on the U.S. tour one day."

Woods, who has won six titles worldwide this year, including the Masters and U.S. Open, eventually finished eighth on 275 and picked up $50,000 -- small change for a player who has already won over $6.9 million in prize money in 2002.

The biggest mover of the day was South Korean Choi Kyung-ju, who fired a seven-under-par 64, promoting the former powerlifter to third place on 271.

Defending champion David Duval closed out with a 68, tied for sixth with Hiroyuki Fujita on 273.

Bjorn, meanwhile, had his best round of the four days as he took advantage of spring-like conditions in Miyazaki to fire a 66 that left him on 278.

269 Kaname Yokoo 66 65 69 69

270 Sergio Garcia (Spa) 67 68 69 66

271 Choi Kyoung-Ju (Kor) 72 69 66 64

272 Darren Clarke (Gbr) 64 72 65 71, Justin Rose (Gbr) 66 69 70 67

273 David Duval (USA) 69 69 67 68, Hiroyuki Fujita 68 68 71 66

275 Tiger Woods (USA) 71 68 69 67

276 Yasuharu Imano 70 69 71 66

277 Zaw Moe (Myn) 68 67 68 74, David Smail (Nzl) 72 70 70 65

278 Dean Wilson (USA) 73 68 68 69, Thomas Bjorn (Den) 71 69 72 66

279 Hidemichi Tanaka 70 72 67 70, Toru Taniguchi 73 70 70 66

280 Hirofumi Miyase 67 71 71 71, Nozomi Kawahara 68 68 77 67, Naomichi Ozaki 67 71 75 67, Katsuyoshi Tomori 71 70 68 71, Jong-Duck Kim (Kor) 68 70 70 72

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