Kobayashi beats Ishikawa for title


Masanori Kobayashi earned his first career JGTO Tour victory Sunday with a birdie on the second playoff hole against Ryo Ishikawa at the inaugural Totoumi Hamamatsu Open.

In a repeat of the 586-yard, par-5 18th in the playoff, the 35-year-old Kobayashi tapped in his winning putt after Ishikawa’s birdie attempt lipped out at Grandee Hamanako Golf Club.

Ishikawa had birdied the final hole of regulation to force the playoff at 20-under 268.

The 19-year-old face of the tour matched the day’s best round with a 64, while Kobayashi shot a 65 after starting the day three strokes behind third-round leader Azuma Yano.

“I never expected to win,” Kobayashi said. “I tried to sink an eagle putt on the second extra hole because I expected Ryo to birdie. I was just lucky.

“I’m glad I didn’t give up on myself and continued to work on my game.”