/

Wu wins Toshin tourney, becomes first Chinese champion on JGTO

Kyodo

Wu Ashun defeated Yuta Ikeda on the fourth playoff hole on Sunday to win the weather-hit Toshin Golf Tournament to become China’s first champion on the JGTO Tour.

After Ikeda drew even with a birdie on the 18th in regulation, the duo repeated the par-5 No. 18 in the playoff. As it got darker and darker with each round, the distance from the tee to the pin was gradually reduced until Wu sank a six-foot birdie to clinch it. The 27-year-old thrust both arms in the air in celebration.

“It was my first, so I’m happy. I’m really excited,” said Wu.

On the third playoff hole, Ikeda sank a 27-foot birdie putt, but Wu matched him from 13 feet.

“Ikeda is a superb golfer,” Wu said. “I thought his putt was amazing, but I was able to clear my head, believe in myself and make mine.”

The final round was held up by rain for 2 hours, 12 minutes, forcing the playoff to be held in poor light.

“You couldn’t see, but that was the same for both of us,” Ikeda said. “Basically, you couldn’t see. That’s not an excuse, and I don’t want to make an excuse, but it will still sound like one.”

Wu, however, said it was not that strange a situation for him.

“On the Chinese tour, I’ve been in playoffs when it’s dark,” he said. “But one where they change the distance like today, I’ve never done anything like that.”

The pair, who started in a tie for second two strokes off the lead, both shot final-round 67s. Wu had five birdies without a bogey, while Ikeda had four birdies on the front nine but had to scramble on the back nine. Ikeda had a bogey on No. 10 to fall even with Wu.

Playing in the group ahead of Wu, Ikeda had a double bogey on No. 14 that left him two strokes back, but he erased that deficit over the final three holes for a three-round total of 18-under 198.

The tournament was shortened to 54 holes after Saturday’s third round was abandoned.

Second-round leader Masamichi Uehira had a final-round 70 to finish a stroke back in a tie for third with Hiroo Kawai.