Japan runs away with Toyota Jr. Cup title

TOYOTA CITY, Japan - Japan claimed its third Toyota Junior Golf World Cup title Friday, beating the second-place U.S. team by 14 shots. It’s the first win for Japan in the event since 1997.

Japan entered the final round at Chukyo Golf Club’s Ishino Course in Toyota City, Japan with a six-shot advantage on the United States. They extended that lead early, making the turn in 3 under to the USA’s 3 over. The USA briefly dropped to third in the team standings before a birdie at the 18th by Yaroslav Merukulov, No. 3 in Golfweek’s Junior Rankings, bumped the Americans to 16 under for the tournament, one shot better than Canada, Denmark and Thailand.

Defending champion Argentina was sixth at 8-under 837.

Yosuke Asaji led the Japanese charge in the final round, posting a bogey-free 65. He tied for individual medalist honors with Canada’s Corey Conners and Denmark’s Lucas Bjerregaard at 10-under 274.

Meruklov, who will play for Duke in the fall, finished T-4 at 8-under 276 with Japan’s Taihei Sato.

Bobby Wyatt, the No. 2 player in Golfweek’s Junior Rankings who won the AJGA’s HP Boys Championship at Carlton Woods in February, was second-best on the U.S. team with his 4-under 280 for a share of eleventh. Cameron Wilson was T-16 at 2-under 282 and Oliver Schniederjans was T-34 at 8-over 292. Wilson held the individual lead after Round 1 with a 5-under 66.

All four players on the Japan team finished in the top 16 with Genzo Tokimatsu T-6 at 5-under 279 and Daijiro Izumida T-16 at 2 under 282.

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