YOSHINO, Nara Pref. – Saiki Fujita has her eyes on the money title after the 24-year-old won her coveted first domestic major, shooting a bogey-free 69 to win the ¥140 million Japan LPGA Championship on Sunday.
Fujita, who began the day sitting on a four-stroke cushion, held on to the lead for the third straight day, birdying the first, 10th and final holes to hold off Australia’s Nikki Campbell by four shots.
Fujita, who finished at 13-under 275, claimed a winner’s check of ¥25.2 million at Grandage Golf Club in Nara Prefecture, and shot up to third from 17th on the money list with a total of more 53 million.
The Shizuoka native trails leader Ahn Sun Ju of South Korea, who finished in a two-way tie for third, by just under 20 million yen. The next major — the third on the JLPGA calendar — is the Sept. 30-Oct. 3 Japan Women’s Open.
“I thought (the money title) would be something much further down the road,” Fujita said. “But I think this is a sign of how much I have improved.”
Campbell matched the day’s low of 68 with five birdies against a bogey, but Fujita held her nerve to win on the tour for the first time in two years.
“I was so nervous yesterday, but still finished under par,” Fujita said after capturing her fourth career title. “And that gave me a lot of confidence going into today.”
“It’s such an honor to have won a prestigious event like this. It wasn’t easy not being able to win for two years, but this victory has made up for it.”
Defending champion Shinobu Moromizato, who led after the first round but fizzled with a 74 and 75 the following two days, ended up in a four-way tie for 12th — 12 shots behind Fujita.
Ahn and compatriot Kim Young shared third at 7 under. Maiko Wakabayashi and Yukari Baba tied for fifth one stroke further back.