Imada pips Gow at BMW Charity Classic
BY Bruce Young | Web.com Tour | 2004 BMW Charity Pro-Am at The Cliffs | Wrap | 03 May 2004
27-year-old Ryuji Imada has won his second event on the Nationwide Tour and, in doing so, now has his sights set firmly on graduation to the PGA Tour in 2005.
His playoff win today at the fifth extra hole over Australian Paul Gow at the BMW Charity Classic completes a solid run of form of late following on from his 11th place last week at the Rheem Classic and a 3rd placing at the First Tee Arkansas Classic one week earlier. Probably his best round in 2004 however has been the 65 he shot in round two of the New Zealand PGA Championship on a day when very few players were breaking par.
Imada had his rookie year on the Buy.Com Tour in 2000, winning the 2000 Virginia Beach Open and very nearly gaining his USPGA Tour card later in 2000 when a last round 76 at the Qualifying School, saw him miss by just three after being well placed going into the last round.
Imada had his best year in 2001 when he finished 20th on the Buy.Com Tour money list but that was at a time when only the top fifteen would get through to the PGA Tour.
Born in Tokyo, Imada attended the University of Georgia where he had considerable success winning the NCAA Championship in 1999, two years after finishing runner up to South African Tim Clark at the US Public Links Championship.
His win now has him in third place on the money list with US$141,000 perhaps US$50,000 short of the comfort zone for USPGA Tour status in 2005. Mind you in the rich vein of form that he now finds himself, it may be that such a figure will be passed very quickly.
Paul Gow has also found form over the past two weeks, his eighth placing last week in Arkansas the result of a recommitment to his short game and less emphasis on hours on the practice tee working on swing issues. He is focusing more on “getting the ball around” than technique and the new approach seems to be working.
Gow, who finished runner up to Brad Faxon after a playoff at the 2001 B.C. Open, now seems well on track to return to the USPGA Tour in 2005.
The playoff pair finished one shot ahead of Bryant Odom and Jason Gore.
The next best Australasians after Gow were Tony Carolan, Steve Alker and Anthony Painter who each shared tenth place. Euan Walters in his first appearance in the US was 19th, Bradley Hughes 26th and Matthew Jones 48th. Walters finds himself still in second place on the money list behind Jimmy Walker but assured, it would seem, of a berth on the USPGA Tour in 2005.
The Nationwide Tour moves to Chattanooga for the Chattanooga Classic.