Matsumura claims Casio, K. Kim closes in on JGTO money title

photo

Michio Matsumura

KOCHI, Japan – Michio Matsumura kept his composure Sunday to emerge triumphant in the Casio World Open, but Kim Kyung-tae’s bid for the Japan Golf Tour money title will have to wait another week.

One shot off the pace overnight, 27-year-old Matsumura edged Kim Do-hoon on the fourth playoff hole to claim his second victory of his JGTO career.

In a close three-way race for the money crown, Kim Kyung-tae’s hopes of wrapping up the title ahead of the season-ending Golf Nippon Series JT Cup next week were left unfulfilled. In an uncharacteristic final-round performance, Kim Kyung-tae closed with an error-strewn 75 to finish T-20 at the 7,300-yard Kochi Kuroshio Country Club.

In contrast, Ryo Ishikawa finished with a flourish, signing for a 68 to rise into an eighth- place tie at 279. That was one shot behind Yuta Ikeda, the co-leader after 54 holes. He could only manage an even-par 72 on Sunday.

Kim Kyung-tae enters the season-finale with a lead of about 29 million yen over Ishikawa and 36 million yen over Ikeda. Should either Ishikawa or Ikeda win next week and capture the 40 million yen (US$476,000) first prize, they could beat the man who is bidding to become the first Korean to win the money title.

For Matsumura, the win came less than two months after his first JGTO victory at the Coca-Cola Tokai Classic – also in playoff. He began the final round with five pars before making four birdies in a row from No. 6. A fifth birdie of the day at No. 15 gave him the outright lead, but a dropped shot at No. 16 left him needing pars on the final two holes to match the clubhouse leader Kim Do-hoon at 13-under 275.

On the fourth playoff hole, Kim Do-hoon hit his second shot out of bounds on the par-5 18th. Meanwhile, Matsumura chipped his third shot to within two feet of the cup, securing his victory.

Winner of the Dunlop Phoenix Tournament last week, Ikeda looked like a contender for back-to-back victories when he birdied Nos. 2-3 in the final round. But he managed only one more birdie the rest of the way.

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