16 April 2018
Kodaira's victory secures him full status on the PGA Tour
Hilton Head Island, April 15, Japan’s Satoshi Kodaira, 28, overcame a 2-over 73 in round one with an 8-under 63 in round two, the low-round of the tournament. He closed with weekend scores of 70-66 to finish at 12-under 272, resulting in a playoff with South Korea’s Si Woo Kim.
After pars from both players on the first two extra holes (18-18), Kodaira sank a 24’ 6” putt for a birdie-2 at No. 17 to claim the victory. Kodaira wins in his 15th start on the PGA TOUR at the age of 28 years, 7 months, 4 days.
A non-member, should Kodaira accept membership to the PGA TOUR with his win, he would earn a two-year membership to the PGA TOUR, carrying him through the 2019-20 season. In addition, his non-member FedExCup points would transfer over to the member list.
It took 365 points to qualify for the FedExCup Playoffs in 2017, 483 to qualify for Dell Technologies Championship, 689 for BMW Championship and 1,322 for the TOUR Championship.
Should he take TOUR membership and is not already otherwise exempt, Kodaira’s win would earn him a spot into the following 2017-18 season events (in order of play): THE PLAYERS Championship, Fort Worth Invitational, the Memorial Tournament, The National and PGA Championship.
In the 2018-19 season, TOUR membership would earn Kodaira a spot into the following events (in order of play): Sentry Tournament of Champions, CareerBuilder Challenge, Arnold Palmer Invitational and RBC Heritage.
Kodaira, No. 46 in the Official World Golf Ranking entering the week and member of the Japan Golf Tour, has now made 11 cuts. His T28 finish in last week’s Masters Tournament was his previous-best showing.
In the 2017-18 PGA TOUR Season, Kodaira finished 54th at the World Golf Championships-Mexico Championship and T59 at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play. He missed the cut at the Sony Open in Hawaii and Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by MasterCard.
Kodaira becomes the first player from Japan to win on the PGA TOUR since Hideki Matsuyama at the 2017 WGC-Bridgestone Invitational.
The last six winners of the RBC Heritage have trailed the lead after 54 holes; Satoshi Kodaira (2018), Wesley Bryan (2017), Branden Grace (2016), Jim Furyk (2015), Matt Kuchar (2014) and Graeme McDowell (2013). The last 54-hole leader/co-leader to convert an RBC Heritage lead into victory was Carl Pettersson in 2012.
This season on the PGA TOUR, the eventual winner trailed the 54-hole lead on 12 of 23 occasions.
Kodaira has collected six wins on the Japan Golf Tour, three second-place finishes, five third-place showings. He has a total of 36 top-10 finishes on that Tour.
Kodaira is the winner of two major championships on the Japan Golf Tour, the 2013 Japan Golf Tour Championship and 2015 Japan Open.
PGA TOUR career starts-made cuts-top-10s-wins: 15-11-1-1
Kodaira’s stats for the week:
R1 – 11 of 14 fairways, 12 of 18 greens in regulation, 2/6 scrambling, 33 putts.
R2 – 11 of 14 fairways, 12 of 18 greens in regulation, 6/6 scrambling, 23 putts.
R3 – 8 of 14 fairways, 12 of 18 greens in regulation, 6/6 scrambling, 30 putts.
R4 – 12 of 14 fairways, 13 of 18 greens in regulation, 3/5 scrambling, 27 putts.
Si Woo Kim
Beginning the final round of the RBC Heritage one-stroke back of Ian Poulter’s lead, reigning PLAYERS Championship winner Si Woo Kim made three birdies and no bogeys on his front nine (33) and three bogeys and no birdies on his inward nine (38) to shoot an even-par 71 to force sudden death with Japan’s Satoshi Kodaira at 12-under 272.
Kim’s third and final birdie of the day was a 22’ 1” putt from off the green at No. 9.
Kim’s runner-up finish comes after a T14 showing in his only other start in the RBC Heritage in 2016.
Kim was making his 15th start of the 2017-18 PGA TOUR season, with the runner-up finish being his fourth top-10 showing. He also finished runner-up at the 2016 Barbasol Championship.
Bryson DeChambeau, who led by a stroke after 36 holes, experienced an up and down week en route to a T3 finish with Luke List. Following a career-best 7-under 64 in round two, he posted a 4-over 75 in round three. In Sunday’s final round, he improved by nine shots with a 5-under 66.
In his professional debut, DeChambeau finished T4 at the 2016 RBC Heritage.
DeChambeau was in search of his second career PGA TOUR victory this week (2017 John Deere Classic).
Following a 4-under 67 in round three to get to within one stroke of Ian Poulter’s 13-under lead, Vanderbilt University grad Luke List posted a 1-over 72 to finish T3 with Bryson DeChambeau.
In three previous appearances at the RBC Heritage, List’s best finish was a T39 in 2016 (2017/MC, 2013/WD).
List, a Seattle, Washington native, was making his 16th start of the season and owns nine top-25s, highlighted by four top-10s. His solo-second at The Honda Classic is the best this season, where he lost to Justin Thomas on the first playoff hole.
In his 109th start on TOUR, List remains in search of his first career win. On the Web.com Tour, he won the 2012 South Georgia Classic in Valdosta, Georgia.
Ian Poulter, the 54-hole leader by a stroke over Luke List and Si Woo Kim, struggled to a 4-over 75 to finish at 9-under 275 (T7). Of six bogeys, five came on his inward nine holes.
From the 10th hole in round one through No. 2 in the final round, Poulter played 47 holes without a bogey. He had a 49-hole stretch without a bogey en route to his win at the Houston Open two weeks ago.
This marked Poulter’s fourth time to hold at least a share of the 54-hole lead. Each of the three he did not convert for the win were the result of par-or-higher scores in the final round; (2015 The Honda Classic/+4/T3, 2016 Puerto Rico Open/E/T3, 2018 RBC Heritage/+4/T7). Poulter won the Houston Open two weeks ago with a final-round 5-under 67.
Poulter’s T7 finish marks his first top-10 finish in eight starts at the RBC Heritage, with a T11 in 2017 his previous-best showing. Last year, he began the final round three strokes back at 10-under 203.
This week marked Poulter’s sixth-consecutive start on the PGA TOUR, beginning at the Valspar Championship. It includes a win at the Houston Open, a T5 at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play and this week’s T7 finish.
Entering last year’s RBC Heritage, Poulter was ranked No. 210 in the Official World Golf Ranking. He came into Harbour Town this week ranked 31st.
Image : Golfweek