YOKOHAMA – Yuta Ikeda shrugged off his nearly man of the year tag to fire a 69 and finally claim his first title of the season with a wire-to-wire victory at the Canon Open on Sunday.
Ikeda, who has had to endure three consecutive runnerup finishes this season, made one eagle, three birdies and two bogeys for a 17-under total of 271, finishing three shots clear of Taichi Teshima and South Korea’s Hwang Jung Gon at Totsuka Country Club.
At 26 years and nine months, Ikeda becomes the youngest JGTO player to win 10 career titles since the tour system was introduced in 1973, surpassing Masashi “Jumbo” Ozaki who had nine wins when he was 27.
The victory was worth ¥30 million and moved Ikeda into second place in the money rankings behind veteran Hiroyuki Fujita.
“This is a good tournament for me. I have played well from the first day and thought maybe I could go all the way,” said Ikeda, who also won the Canon Open in 2009.
“Jumbo-san is a player I respect and I am happy I could rewrite the record. It’s taken a long time to get 10 wins so I want to try and quickly get No. 11.”
Ikeda, who started the day with a two-shot cushion, made birdies either side of a bogey on the fifth hole, which had briefly allowed Teshima to pull level.
He eagled the 13th and had another bogey and a birdie before parring his final two holes for victory.
Teshima and Hwang both posted final rounds of 70 to share second and Ryo Ishikawa carded a 1-over 73 for a tie for fourth place with Masamichi Uehira (70) at 11 under.
Blixt, Moore tied for lead
Jonas Blixt birdied six of the last seven holes Saturday for a 5-under 66 and a share of the lead with Ryan Moore and Brendon de Jonge in the Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospitals for Children Open.
Moore had a bogey-free 65, and de Jonge birdied four of the last five for a 66 to match Blixt at 19-under 194.
“Today was just a good solid day,” Moore said. “I didn’t do anything amazing, but at the same time, I just did what I’ve been doing this whole week, just put it in play, gave myself a bunch of wedges, 9-irons into greens, and was able to convert a bunch of my reasonable birdie chances.”