25 April 2017
Kuboya Prevails in Play-Off to Win Panasonic Open Japan
Japan’s Kenichi Kuboya kept the Panasonic OPEN Japan trophy on home soil when he defeated compatriot Katsumasa Miyamoto at the first play-off hole on Sunday.
Victory at the ¥150 million (approximately US$1.37million) event was the first for the 45-year-old in five years and also provided him with much relief as he was facing the prospect of losing his winner’s exemption status on the Japan Golf Tour Organisation (JGTO) this year.
Kuboya produced a final day heroics when he signed for a seven-under-par 64 to force a play-off with Miyamoto who compiled a four-day total of 11-under-par 273 at the Chiba Country Club.
Kuboya then gained the early advantage when Miyamoto hit his tee shot out of bounds at the first play-off hole.
After finding further trouble with his second tee shot which landed behind the tree and with Kuboya reaching the green in three, Miyamoto would concede defeat to Kuboya who could even afford to three-putt for a bogey to win.
Philippines’ Juvic Pagunsan had a closing eagle-three on 18 to thank for lifting him to tied-sixth place, which was also his second top-10 finish in Japan in two weeks.
Thailand’s Prayad Marksaeng’s final day charge did not materialized as he signed off with a 72 that left him in a share of ninth place that also included Bangladeshi Siddikur Rahman.
Did you know?
- Kuboya’s final round 64 was his best score all week and also his first bogey-free round at the Panasonic OPEN Japan.
- Kuboya has won seven times on the JGTO and his last victory dates back to 2012 at the Japan Open.
- Siddikur made it into the weekend rounds right at the cut-line after earlier rounds of 72 and 70. He started his final round eight shots back in tied-37th place but would finish inside the top-10 by the end of the week.
- Prayad has emerged victorious on Japanese soil on eight occasions with four wins coming from the Senior Tour in Japan.
- The Thai started the round just one shot off the lead but two bogeys on holes 14 and 18 put paid to any hopes of adding another victory in Japan this week.
Kenichi Kuboya (Jpn) – Fourth round 64 (-7), Total 273 (-11)
My back has been hurting recently and I was feeling the pain throughout the week. But surprisingly, it was okay today. I was on form with my putter all week, so that really helped a lot. I was not expecting to win at the start of the week as I had set for myself a top-10 target. So this win is definitely a bonus. I felt bad for Miyamoto when he saw him hitting those bad shots at the play-off hole. I know Miyamoto for a very long time and we are good friends. I’m going to drink lots of alcohol to celebrate this victory. The best thing about this week is the winner’s cheque which will come in very handy for the family!
Juvic Pagunsan (Phi) – Fourth round 69 (-2), Total 275 (-9)
It was very good to finish with an eagle on the last hole. I was one-over after the front-nine but I made really good recovery in my back-nine where I birdied 13 followed by that closing eagle. It has been a good week so far and I hope it’ll continue this way when I play in Nagoya next week.
Prayad Marksaeng (Tha) – Fourth round 72 (Even), Total 276 (-8)
I thought I had the chance to fightback after those two birdies on 10 and 11. I was only 1 shot behind the leaders at that stage. But I had trouble on those two par-five on 14 and 18. Two bogeys there cost me the title chance. But it’s okay, I look forward to my next event and hopefully play well again.
Siddikur Rahman (Ban) – Fourth round 65 (-6), Total 276 (-8)
I played without any pressure today and that helped. The only pressure I felt this week was on Friday where I was trying to make the cut. After that, I started to enjoy myself on the golf course and I’m happy I managed to end the week with a top-10 finish.
Leading Scores after round 4 of the Panasonic Open Golf Championship being played at the par 71, 7130 Yards Chiba CC course (am - denotes amateur):
273 - Kenichi KUBOYA (JPN) 69-71-69-64, Katsumasa MIYAMOTO (JPN) 69-68-68-68.
*Kuboya defeated Miyamoto with a bogey at the first play-off hole
274 - Seunghyuk KIM (KOR) 68-70-67-69, Mikumu HORIKAWA (JPN) 73-68-63-70, Junggon HWANG (KOR) 69-69-65-71.
275 - I.J. JANG (KOR) 69-71-69-66, K.T. KIM (KOR) 70-67-70-68, Juvic PAGUNSAN (PHI) 68-67-71-69.
276 - Siddikur RAHMAN (BAN) 72-70-69-65, Wonjoon LEE (AUS) 71-67-71-67, Yoshinori FUJIMOTO (JPN) 70-68-68-70, Prayad MARKSAENG (THA) 68-69-67-72.
277 - Mingyu CHO (KOR) 71-67-70-69.
278 - Udorn DUANGDECHA (THA) 66-72-75-65.
279 - Shaun NORRIS (RSA) 69-73-70-67, Panuphol PITTAYARAT (THA) 67-68-74-70, Yujiro OHORI (JPN) 70-65-74-70, Sungjae IM (KOR) 71-68-70-70, Shugo IMAHIRA (JPN) 70-70-69-70, Jason KNUTZON (USA) 64-69-75-71, Hyungsung KIM (KOR) 67-71-70-71, Arjun ATWAL (IND) 69-69-69-72, Shunsuke SONODA (JPN) 72-70-65-72.
280 - Jazz JANEWATTANANOND (THA) 70-70-72-68, Jinichiro KOZUMA (JPN) 69-71-71-69, Tatsuya KODAI (JPN) 72-70-68-70, LIANG Wen-chong (CHN) 72-69-68-71, Inhoi HUR (KOR) 67-68-73-72, Kyungnam KANG (KOR) 68-71-67-74.