Nagai earns maiden triumph in Tokai Classic


Natsu Nagai nailed seven birdies against a lone bogey for a final-round 6-under 66 to win the Munsingwear Ladies Tokai Classic by two strokes on Sunday for her first JLPGA victory in her 11 years on the tour.

Nagai rolled in a 15-foot birdie putt on No. 17 to move to 12-under for the three-day tournament. After a par on her final hole, she rushed to the practice green to polish her putting in preparation for a playoff that never happened.

“I never imagined that I would be allowed to win it so easily,” said Nagai, whose best result had been fifth place in 2008. “It was as if it wasn’t happening to me.”

Miki Saeki and South Korea’s Lee Bo Mee each shot final-round 70s to finish tied for second at 10-under 206.

Overnight leader Jeon Mi Jeong of South Korea could have forced a playoff with a birdie on the final hole, but she double-bogeyed the par-4 18th to finish three strokes back in fourth. Chie Arimura was a further stroke back in fifth.

The 30-year-old Nagai took home ¥14.4 million in prize money.