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Oda makes breakthrough to deny Ishikawa

Kyodo

Ryuichi Oda captured his first career title in a JGTO major Sunday, winning a three-way playoff against teenager Ryo Ishikawa and fellow veteran Yasuharu Imano at the Japan Open.

The 32-year-old from Kagoshima Prefecture rolled in a seven-foot birdie putt on the second playoff hole, the par-4 18th, after Ishikawa and Imano both narrowly missed their birdie tries at Musashi Country Club.

Oda earned ¥40 million, along with a five-year exemption on the tour.

“Unbelievable! I didn’t expect I could win the Japan Open,” Oda said “For a long, long time, I had felt frustration for not being able to win a tournament, so I’m very happy.”

Oda shot the day’s low round of 67, leaving him at 6-under 282. He had eight birdies, including three in a row from No. 11 and one on the final hole of regulation, against three bogeys.

Imano had a final-round 70 and 18-year-old money leader Ishikawa a 71.

Ishikawa was attempting to become the youngest Japan Open winner. Rokuzo Asami won the 1928 tournament when he was 19 years old.

“I feel good,” Ishikawa said. “It was so intense that I felt like I couldn’t breathe through 20 holes. I know I’m supposed to be really disappointed, but I feel more satisfied after giving it my all.”

Hiroyuki Fujita and Hirofumi Miyase had 69s to tie for fourth at 3-under.

Yuta Ikeda, currently second on the JGTO money list, closed with a 70 and shared 18th place with Prayad Marksaeng of Thailand at 2-over.

Shingo Katayama, the 2005 and 2008 Japan Open winner, was three strokes further back in a tie for 25th after a 75.

Campbell delivers

CHIBA (Kyodo) Australian Nikki Campbell sank a super birdie putt to defeat Ai Miyazato in a playoff on Sunday and claim her second title in Japan at the Fujitsu Ladies.

Miyazato came up short in her birdie attempt from the fringe of the green on the fourth extra playoff hole — Tokyu Seven Hundred Club’s par-4 18th — and Campbell rolled in a 50-footer to end a three-year title drought.

“I am just really happy. It’s been a long time,” said Campbell, whose first win since the 2006 Suntory Ladies Open earned her ¥14.4 million from the ¥80 million purse.

“I think I won three years ago so I have been practicing really hard and trying to do the right things and it has paid off,” smiled the 29-year-old from Canberra.

Campbell and Miyazato, winner of last week’s Sankyo Ladies Open, both carded 69s for the third day in a row to finish tied in regulation on 9-under 207.

Miyazato, who has had an excellent season on the U.S. LPGA Tour this year, was pleased with her own performance despite the disappointment of narrowly missing out on consecutive titles.

“I am pleased with the way I played. Being in a long playoff like this is not something I experience often so I can look at that as a plus,” said the 24-year-old.

Joint overnight leaders Miki Saiki (73) and Akane Iijima (73) tied for third place on 208 alongside Yukari Baba (72).

Current money leader Shinobu Moromizato and Miho Koga, last year’s top earner on the JLPGA tour, tied for eighth on 5-under.