KOBE – Ryo Ishikawa failed to mount one of his trademark comebacks as Australia’s Brendan Jones rode an eagle and five birdies en route to winning the Asia-Pacific Panasonic Open on Sunday.
Panasonic poster boy Ishikawa started the final round one shot out of first place, but carded a 73 to finish five strokes behind Jones, whose 6-under 207 gave him his first title on the JGTO Tour since April 2007.
With the first round washed out on Thursday, Jones took home ¥22.5 million after his ninth career victory. Overnight leader Ryuichi Oda was second, trailing Jones by one shot.
“The last 2 1/2 years has been a bit of a dry spell,” Jones said. “I’ve played well, but not quite well enough to win tournaments. It’s good to finally lift another trophy.”
The 19-year-old Ishikawa had a forgettable afternoon at Rokko Kokusai Golf Club, bogeying the first hole and starting off the back nine with a double bogey.
Ishikawa, who had moved within striking distance of his third title this season after a hole-in-one the previous day, checked out with bogeys on his final two holes to end up in a three-way tie for 13th place.
The result knocked off Ishikawa from the top of the money rankings, allowing South Korean Kim Kyung Tae to overtake him by nearly ¥3 million. Kim shot a 67 to finish two shots behind Jones, tied at third with last year’s winner Daisuke Maruyama and Sushi Ishigaki.
Ishikawa, who did not appear to be overly disappointed by his performance, was already looking ahead to next year’s tournament.
“I find this course difficult every year, but I think I’m starting to play better here,” said Ishikawa, who has slightly more than ¥69 million in 2010 earnings.
“Recently, I’ve been able to make the adjustments I need to wherever I’m playing. I just hope I can win it next year. I’m working on a few things with my game right now that I believe will pay off in the future.”
Ishikawa will appear in the Coca-Cola Tokai Classic from Thursday as defending champion.
Lim stays strong
RIFU , Miyagi Pref. (Kyodo) Lim Eun A clinched her first title of the season Sunday as South Korean golfers filled the top three spots on the leaderboard for the second week in a row at the Miyagi TV Cup Dunlop Ladies Open.
Lim, who began the day one shot back, made four birdies against two bogeys in a final-round 70 at Rifu Golf Club to close at 5-under 211, one shot ahead of compatriots Park In Bee and Lee Na Ri.
“I have a tendency to come apart on the final day of a tournament so I tried to stay calm and play my game,” said Lim, whose third victory in Japan earned her ¥12.6 million.
“I’ve achieved the goal I set of winning one title this season and my next target is to get another victory and finish in the top 10 on the money list.”
The 27-year-old Lim is playing in her third full season in Japan and says she has no plans to switch back to her initial plan of competing on the U.S. LPGA circuit.
“Now I am happy in Japan so I have no intention of going (to the United States),” she said.
Lee shot a 71 while Park carded a 69.
Overnight leader Rui Kitada struggled to a 74 and finished a further two shots back tied for fourth place with U.S. tour regular Momoko Ueda, who had a 70.
“I really badly wanted to win and my body tensed up and wouldn’t move the way I wanted to,” said Kitada.
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