Tadahiro Takayama wins title in playoff
Tadahiro Takayama of Japan enjoyed home-soil victory when he defeated countryman Kiyoshi Miyazato in the playoff to lift the US$830,000 Asia Japan Okinawa Open title on Sunday.
Takayama dethroned last year's winner with a stunning birdie putt at the par four 18th hole in the playoff at the Naha Golf Club. Takayama, who had two career victories on the Japan Golf Tour, walked away with US$170,940 as champion while Miyazato was forced to settle for second best when he finished even-par in the playoff at the 397 yards 18th hole.
“I am overjoyed because it has been a very tough tournament for me,” said Takayama.
“I did not expect to win the tournament in such a dramatic fashion and I hope to continue this momentum throughout the whole of next year,” he said.
Takayama remained composed on the final day. In regulation play, he birdied the second, sixth and 10th holes and bogeyed the third and 13th for a one-under-par 70. He forced a playoff with Miyazato who struggled with consistency as both golfers posted a four-day total of eight-under-par 276. Miyazato posted birdies on the third, sixth and 10th and bogeyed the first, second and 15th holes for an even-par.
Third round leader Tetsuji Hiratsuka of Japan struck a lowly 74 in the fourth round as he finished tied third with compatriot Kenichi Kuboya on 277.
Newly crowned Asian Tour Order of Merit winner Thaworn Wiratchant of Thailand claimed fifth position three strokes off the pace from the champion. He was even-par for the day and shared fifth with Japanese Kaname Yokoo.
Australian Scott Strange, who won the 2005 Myanmar Open on the Asian Tour, shared seventh on 281 with Korea 's Yang Yong-eun and Japan 's Taishi Teshima.
Volvo Masters of Asia champion Shiv Kapur of India stumbled on the final day when he carded a 75 to finish shared 13th position on 283. The 23-year-old birdied the sixth hole but bogeyed the seventh, eighth, 12th, 16th and 17th holes.
He shared 13th spot with Australian duo of Scott Laycock and Marcus Both, and Japanese trio of Keiichiro Fukabori, Tommy Nakajima and Yasuharu Imano.
The Okinawa Open is the opening leg for the 2006 season for the Asian Tour and Japan Golf Tour.
Leading fourth round scores
276 - Tadahiro Takayama (JPN) 70-68-68-70, Kiyoshi Miyazato (JPN) 68-67-70-71 (Takayama won playoff in extra hole)
277 - Kenichi Kuboya (JPN) 67-72-68-70, Tetsuji Hiratsuka (JPN) 71-68-64-74
279 - Thaworn Wiratchant (THA) 69-67-72-71, Kaname Yokoo (JPN) 65-70-69-75
281 - Taichi Teshima JPN) 72-70-71-68, Yang Yong-Eun (KOR) 71-69-69-72, Scott Strange (AUS) 70-69-69-73
282 - Chris Campbell (AUS) 68-68-74-72, Eiji Mizoguchi (JPN) 72-68-68-74, Toru Taniguchi (JPN) 71-67-67-77
283 - Scott Laycock (AUS) 73-66-72-72, Marcus Both (AUS) 70-67-74-72, Keiichiro Fukabori (JPN) 73-68-70-72, Tommy Nakajima (JPN) 69-71-70-73, Yasuharu Imano (JPN) 71-64-73-75, Shiv Kapur ( IND ) 72-65-71-75
284 - Ron Won (USA) 71-70-71-72, Yeh Wei-Tze (TPE) 71-73-68-72, Prayad Marksaeng (THA) 70-69-75-70, Dinesh Chand (FIJ) 65-72-74-73, Ross Bain (SCO) 72-68-70-74
285 - Unho Park (AUS) 70-69-73-73
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