TOMAKOMAI, Hokkaido – Nobuhito Sato edged Hirofumi Miyase on the first extra hole Saturday to win his semifinal of the Japan PGA Matchplay Championship, setting up a 36-hole final with Tomohiro Kondo who ousted Shingo Katayama with a 1-up victory.
Fourth-seeded Sato, the Japanese tour’s money leader and the only quarterfinalist among the top five seeds, eliminated New Zealand’s David Smail with a 1-up win in the morning and then held off Miyase after blowing a three-hole lead in regulation 18 holes.
Sato clinched his spot in Sunday’s final after hitting a 148-yard second shot to three feet on the first extra hole — the par-4 11th — where Miyase hit his drive into the trees and had to lay up, failing to save par.
“I have a poor matchplay record and I never thought I would come this far. I’ve had problems in my swing all week but I’m happy to be where I am after winning matches in very trying circumstances,” Sato said.
Yoneyama in control
KAWAGUCHIKO, Yamanashi Pref. (Kyodo) Midori Yoneyama had trouble with her putting but fired a bogey-free 1-under-par 70 and maintained the lead by two strokes at the Fujisankei Ladies Classic on Saturday.
Yoneyama, who has won four titles in her four-year career, carded one birdie — at the par-5 sixth hole — en route to a 5-under total of 137 at the Fujizakura Country Club in Yamanashi Prefecture.
“I kept coming up short of the cup. Since it wasn’t raining in the first half of today’s round, I thought the greens would be faster than yesterday and most of my putting turned out to be a bit too soft,” Yoneyama said.
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