Matsumura prevails in playoff at Tokai Classic

Michio Matsumura of Japan

Michio Matsumura of Japan

MIYOSHI, Japan – Michio Matsumura outdueled Takashi Kanemoto and Hiroyuki Fujita in extra holes Sunday to claim victory in the Coca-Cola Tokai Classic.

It was Matsumura’s first Japan Golf Tour triumph and earned him the biggest payday of his career – 24 million yen (about US $288,000).

LEADING FINAL-ROUND SCORES

280 - Michio Matsumura* (JPN) 72-68-72-68; Hiroyuki Fujita (JPN) 71-70-70-69; Takashi Kanemoto (JPN) 71-68-70-71

*Matsumura won playoff at third extra hole

282 - Brendan Jones (AUS) 71-70-73-68; Ryo Ishikawa (JPN) 72-68-73-69; Koichiro Kawano (JPN) 74-69-69-70

283 - Masamichi Uehira (JPN) 72-69-74-68; Kim Do-hoon (KOR) 74-70-69-70

284 - Takuya Taniguchi (JPN) 75-69-71-69

285 - Masatsugu Fujishima (JPN) 75-70-71-69; Han Lee (US) 71-71-73-70; Shunsuke Sonoda (JPN) 70-71-71-73

286 - Koumei Oda (JPN) 78-69-68-71; Tetsuji Hiratsuka (JPN) 75-67-68-76

Matsumura, 27, closed with a 4-under 68 over the 7,310-yard West Course at Miyoshi Country Club in Aichi prefecture to finish level with third-round leader Kanemoto and Fujita at 8-under 280.

Kanemoto dropped out when he bogeyed the first hole of the playoff and Matsumura, in his fourth year on tour, sealed his success with a par at the third extra hole when Fujita carded a double bogey.

Putting was the key to Matsumura’s victory. He needed just 25 putts on the last day and 107 in total over the four rounds.

“I’ve always fallen apart on the last day, but I finally found a way to beat the pressure,” Matsumura said. “I know I don’t have the game to match (Fujita), but I just didn’t want to get beaten by him mentally.’’

Defending champion Ryo Ishikawa carded a 69 to earn a share of fourth at 282 with compatriot Koichiro Kawano and Australian Brendan Jones, winner of last week’s Asia-Pacific Panasonic Open.

Joint half-way leader Kiradech Aphibarnrat settled for T-15 at 287 while fellow Thai Prayad Marksaeng dropped to equal 30th at 290 after a final-round 76.

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