SAPPORO – The scene was all set for teen phenom Ryo Ishikawa to mark the week of his 19th birthday with victory at the tournament of one of his main sponsors.
Only rival Yuta Ikeda turned up to gate-crash the party.
Ikeda held on to his overnight lead to capture his second win of the season at the ANA Open on Sunday, firing a 5-under 67 to finish one stroke ahead of South Korean Kim Do Hoon (63) and American Jay Choi (66) at 14-under 274.
The face of ANA, Ishikawa, who turned 19 on Friday, posted his best round of the week with a 67 and closed in a share of 12th, eight strokes off the leader.
Kim Kyung Tae of South Korea, Tetsuji Hiratsuka and Thailand’s Kiradech Aphibarnrat all carded 67s to share fourth place at 9 under with Hiroo Okamo, who had a 68.
Ikeda, who began the day with a two-stroke cushion, made an up-and-down start to the final round, twice canceling out birdies with bogeys on Nos. 2 and 4 at Sapporo Golf Club.
But the 24-year-old quickly settled down and nailed four more birdies through his next five holes before collecting another shot on the inward nine en route to his sixth career victory.
“I am delighted. I think this is probably the first time I have cried after winning,” said Ikeda. “It was a tough battle in the second half of today’s round but I did well to hang in there.”
Ishikawa, who had been seeking back-to-back victories in Japan following his triumph at the Fujisankei Classic, remained top of the money list with ¥68,173,029.
“I played well at the end so I am happy about that,” said Ishikawa. “It will be good if the final part of the season generates some excitement for the tour. I want to be in the race for the money title.”
Ikeda’s ¥22 million winner’s prize moved him up to fifth on the list, just under ¥12 million behind Ishikawa.
“It is from hereon that I need to start earning. I am looking forward to the rest of the season,” said Ikeda, who lost the money title to Ishikawa in the final event last season.
Jeon rallies for title
MIHAMA , Aichi Pref. (Kyodo) South Korea’s Jeon Mi Jeong fired a stunning 8-under 64 to turn a three-stroke deficit into a two-shot victory at the Munsingwear Ladies Tokai Classic on Sunday.
Jeon tore up Minami-Aichi Country Club with nine birdies, including four straight from the 15th, against a lone bogey to clinch her third win of the season with a total of 14-under 202.
The 27-year-old from Daejon pocketed ¥14.4 million in prize money for her 16th victory on the JLPGA Tour.
“Until now I have always got frustrated and mad with myself for the mistakes I have made,” said Jeon. “This week I won a battle against myself.”
“I just played my game and didn’t really worry about my score. That’s a feeling I can’t let myself forget,” she said.
South Koreans filled the top three spots, with current money rankings leader Ahn Sun Ju finishing runnerup and Kim Na third.