Imano snaps four-year losing streak

GOTEMBA, Shizuoka Pref. (Kyodo) Yasuharu Imano ended a four-year title drought with victory at the Mitsui Sumitomo Visa Taiheiyo Masters on Sunday.

Imano closed with a 1-over 73 for a 13-under 275 total, two strokes ahead of American Han Lee and Kenichi Kuboya at Taiheiyo Club’s Gotemba Course.

The 36-year-old Imano, who made two birdies, a bogey and a double bogey, earned ¥30 million from the ¥150 million purse for his seventh career win. Lee carded a final-round 69 and Kuboya a 71.

“It has been a long four years. I never thought I would be able to win being in such poor physical condition,” said Imano. “It was a tough back nine as I started to feel pain in my elbow and neck.”

“I didn’t want to get into a playoff. Given that I wasn’t feeling well, a playoff would have been difficult,” he said.