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Darren Clarke loses Taiheiyo title in playoff

Japan's Hirofumi Miyase emerged from a three-player championship playoff to win the Taiheiyo Masters on Sunday.

Miyase played a bogey-free final round of 69 to finish with a 14-under-par total of 274 along with compatriot Ryoken Kawagishi and Briton Darren Clarke who forced his way into contention with a final round 66.

Kawagishi let slip an overnight two-stroke lead and managed only a 71 in the last round.

It was only the second tournament win for Miyase following his victory two years ago in the Tokyo Open.

"This is the third time I've been in a playoff and I've lost the other two. It felt great to sink the winning putt," said Miyase who picked up the winner's cheque of 28 million yen ($266,666).

Kawagishi's hopes ended on the first playoff hole when his second shot landed in the pond in front of the green. He managed only a bogey while Miyase and Clarke both birdied the hole.

On the second playoff hole, Clarke, saw his second shot roll into the fringe of the water.

Although he was able to play his ball he managed to move it only a few inches from the water's edge on his third shot. Miyase successfully completed the hole in par leaving Clarke needing to sink a seven-foot putt but the ball brushed the rim of the cup and rolled away.

Clarke and Kawagishi had set up the playoff when both had birdies on the 18th while Miyase battled out of the rough on the final two holes of regulation to hold par.

Defending champion Lee Westwood of Britain finished three strokes off the pace in joint sixth after a third successive round of 70.

Brandt Jobe of the U.S. shot a magnificent seven-under-par 65 to miss sharing in the playoff by only one shot. His chance disappeared when his attempted eagle putt on the 18th went wide of the cup and he had to settle for a birdie which gave him fourth place.

Japan's Naomichi Ozaki was a shot further back on 276 in fifth place.