• Kyodo


South Korean veteran Ku Ok Hee sank a 20-foot putt on the final hole for a 1-over-par 73 Sunday to seal back-to-back victories and win the Japan LPGA Championship for a second time.

News photoSouth Korean Ku Ok Hee holds up the trophy after winning the Japan LPGA Championship in Yokawa, Hyogo Prefecture.

Overnight leader Orie Fujino looked set for her first major title on the Japan circuit until she dropped out of contention with a disastrous eight on the par-4 12th and Ku took full advantage to lift her second trophy in two weeks with a birdie at the last.

Ku finished with a 5-under total of 283 at the Taiheiyo Club’s Rokko Course, one stroke ahead of last year’s runnerup Toshimi Kimura.

“It feels great. I still go into tournaments feeling I have a chance to win and I think the victory today proved I can still compete,” said Ku, who first won the JLPGA title in 1992.

After dropping three strokes in the first six holes, Ku hit back with two birdies around the turn but her fortunes turned around completely as Fujino’s challenge fell apart on the 12th.

Fujino hit two shots into the lake in a quadruple-bogey while Ku sank a monster 50-foot putt to go top of the leaderboard.

Kimura also carded a 73 with 17 pars and a bogey but had to be content with second on 284 for a second straight year.

Mikiyo Nishizuka fired a 74 to end a further shot adrift in third while Fujino dropped to fourth after a 77.

Katayama triumphs

INZAI, Chiba Pref. (Kyodo) Joint third-round leader Shingo Katayama birdied four of the first seven holes in steady rain and went on to win the Suntory Open by four shots for his first tour title of the year.

Katayama, the 2000 money title winner who began the day tied for the lead with Yasuharu Imano, pulled away after his three straight birdies from No. 2 and picked up three more strokes as he matched the day’s low round with a bogey-free 65 for a 15-under 269 total.

Imano’s bogey on the fifth widened the gap to three strokes and he never mounted a threat the rest of the day in a round of 69, which put him in a tie for second with Koki Idoki (67) at 11-under 273.

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