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Yoshida earns first tour title after playoff

Kyodo

Yumiko Yoshida overcame a two-stroke deficit to tie South Korea’s Jang Eun Bi on the final hole in regulation on Sunday, and then held her nerve over six playoff holes to win the NEC Karuizawa 72 for her first tour title.

Yoshida birdied the par-4 18th to wrap up a final-round 5-under-par 67. When Jang, who is still looking for her first win on tour, bogeyed the hole, the title went to a playoff. Yoshida sank a two-yard birdie putt on the sixth hole to wrap it up.

“It was my first experience of a playoff,” said the 25-year-old Yoshida, who thrust her arms into the air when the putt dropped.

Yoshida has been carefully following the Olympics and felt inspired in her final round after big victories for Japan on Saturday in London.

“The women won bronze in volleyball, and we won a gold in boxing,” she said. “The god of victory was smiling over me, too. I felt that was true as I gave it my all today.”

Tour legend Yuri Fudo finished two strokes back of the leaders in sole possession of third. Junko Omote, who shared the first-round lead, Sakara Yokomine, Ahn Sun Ju of South Korea and Harukyo Nomura tied for fourth a stroke further back.