GEISEI, KOCHI PREF. – Tour money leader Hiroyuki Fujita shot a fourth-round 69 on Sunday, but could finish no better than ninth in the Casio World Open, forcing the JGTO money race to go down to the season’s final weekend.
South Korean 20-year-old Hwang Jung Gon earned his second tour victory, shooting a final-round 66 to finish at 19-under-par 269, three strokes ahead of Kunihiro Kamii in second. Hwang had four birdies and a one-stroke lead over Kamii when he teed off on the 18th, but sealed the deal with an easy eagle putt. The win earned him a ¥40 million payday.
“It’s nice to add this to my first win,” said Hwang, who led after the first and third rounds. “This (my second win) came a lot sooner than I thought it would.”
The trio of Yoshinori Fujimoto (67), Kenichi Kuboya (69) and South Korean Kim Kyung Tae (70) were two strokes further back in a tie for third on 14-under-par 274.
Ryo Ishikawa, South Korea’s S.K. Ho and Yui Ueda were tied for sixth at 13 under.
Fujita heads into the Nippon Series JT Cup, which starts on Thursday, with a roughly ¥38 million lead over Toru Taniguchi. The winner of the season-ending tournament will collect ¥40 million, giving Taniguchi an outside chance of surpassing Fujita, who has won the event the past two years.
Teen tour rookie Yosuke Asaji secured his spot on the tour for 2013, when he finished tied for ninth after back-to-back rounds of 67. The 19-year-old earned ¥4.3 million, clinching a spot among the tour’s top 70 earners for the year and a tour exemption for next season.
Lee holds on to win
Overnight leader Lee Bo Mee held on to claim her third title of the year at the season-ending Japan LPGA Tour Championship on Sunday.
The South Korean carded four birdies and a bogey in a final-round 69 at Miyazaki Country Club, posting a two-stroke victory over compatriot Park In Bee. Park closed to within a stroke after she followed a birdie on No. 8 with an eagle on the par-5 No. 9. Lee responded in style by following Park’s eagle with a birdie on the same hole.
“I was on the (ninth) green in two and thought I had a birdie chance,” Lee said. “But when Park chipped in for an eagle, I tightened up. It was at that point, however, that I was able to stiffen my resolve.”
Lee, winner of the Yokohama Tire PRGR Ladies Cup and the Itoen Ladies earlier this year, finished at 13-under 275 to boost her earnings for the season by ¥25 million.
“I’m filled with a sense of disbelief,” Lee said. “I’m so happy I don’t know what to do.”
Her first victory at a major in Japan saw her finish second on the money list behind fellow South Korean Jeon Mi Jeong, who was 16th here.
Starting the day two shots behind Lee, this season’s U.S. LPGA money champion Park also shot a 69 for second place, while Miki Sasaki, winner of last week’s Elleair Ladies Open, had a 65 and finished in third at 7 under.
China’s Feng Shanshan (69) and Yuri Fudo (70) shared fourth.
Sakura Yokomine, who led by one stroke after two rounds, settled for sixth place. It was the first time since making her professional debut in 2004 that Yokomine has finished the season without a title.