• Kyodo


Naomichi “Joe” Ozaki shot his third straight 67 on Sunday and beat Steven Conran of Australia in a playoff to win the Chunichi Crowns for his second straight victory in as many weeks.

News photoGolfers Vijay Singh (left photo) and Chris
DiMarco yawn as they wait to play the second hole Saturday at the Zurich
Classic. Wet, rainy conditions made for a long day on the course, causing play
to slow to a crawl. Masters runnerup DiMarco grabbed the lead before darkness
halted the third round.

Ozaki tapped in for par in the second extra hole while Conran failed to save par in steady rain after the two players finished the regulation 72 holes tied at a 11-under-par 269 on the Nagoya Golf Club’s Wago Course.

Ozaki picked up two shots with four birdies and two bogeys before getting a key birdie on the par-4 16th, which moved him into a tie for the lead with Conran with a two-shot swing as the rain grew heavier.

In the decisive playoff hole, Ozaki and Conran both missed the green but their short game made the difference.

Conran saw his chip shot roll past the pin and missed the comebacker while Ozaki got up and down to within three feet and made no mistake making the putt that gave the 48-year-old his 32nd career victory on the Japanese tour and the 24 million yen winner’s check.

“Conran played steady golf all day and it seemed tough to catch up.” Ozaki said. “When it started raining, I wish it could turn out to be a shower of blessing and then came the birdie on the 16th. It did come true.”

Last week, the former U.S. PGA Tour player won the Tsuruya Open with a playoff win over Australian Paul Sheehan for his first tour title since winning the Bridgestone Open in October 2003.

Yoneyama wins

MURE, Kagawa Pref. (Kyodo) Midori Yoneyama birdied the second playoff hole to beat Ayako Uehara to win the Katokichi Queens on Sunday for her fifth career victory and first in four years on the Japan LPGA tour.

Yoneyama began the day two shots off the lead and birdied two of the final three holes en route to her second straight 68 as she finished the 54-hole tournament tied with Uehara at a 10-under-par 206 total at Yashima Country Club in Kagawa Prefecture.

Play suspended

AVONDALE, La. (AP) Chris DiMarco found himself in the same position he was in entering the final day of the Masters, sitting atop the leaderboard halfway through the suspended third round of the Zurich Classic.

DiMarco, who overcame a bad Sunday morning performance in the Masters to take Tiger Woods to a playoff, was 4 under through 10 holes in the third round and 12 under overall when play was suspended because of darkness.

Prammanasudh top

FRANKLIN, Tenn. (AP) Stacy Prammanasudh shot a 7-under 65 to take a two-stroke lead over defending champ Lorena Ochoa in the Franklin American Mortgage Championship.

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