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Ishikawa wins playoff for first victory in two years

Kyodo

Ryo Ishikawa won a playoff against Komei Oda to capture his first title on the Japan tour in two years at the Shigeo Nagashima Invitational on Sunday.

Ishikawa teed off in a share of third place at The North Country Club in Chitose, Hokkaido, and fired off six birdies against two bogeys on the way to a 67 to finish at the top of the leaderboard with Oda at 10-under 274.

“I didn’t think that I could win the title, so I’m happy,” Ishikawa said. “I have to practice more and more so I can catch up with Hideki (Matsuyama). I want to do my best so I can win in America in the near future,” he said, referring to Matsuyama’s first career title win on the U.S. tour in April.

The 22-year-old Ishikawa claimed his first title since the 2012 Taiheiyo Masters in his third domestic event of the season. Ishikawa took home a winner’s prize of ¥40 million for his 11th career title.

Ishikawa drew even with Oda when he saved par on the par-5, 18th hole, and then clinched victory on the third playoff.

“I was able to have the ideal swing when I needed it most at this tournament,” Ishikawa said.

Defending champion Shunsuke Sonoda tied for sixth. Hideki Matsuyama, who was playing in his first domestic tour event of the year, had a final-round 68 and ended in 17th at 3 under.