Rising star Ikeda makes amends at JPGA
BY Bruce Young | Japan Tour | 2009 Japan PGA Championship | Round Four | 14 Jun 2009
Just seven days after disintegrating with a final round of 78 at the Japan Golf Tour Championship, 23-year-old Yuta Ikeda has led this week’s Japan PGA Championship in Hokkaido throughout to eventually win by seven shots over Mitsuhiro Tateyama.
Ikeda shared the lead in this week’s event after round one, led by four at the completion of Saturday’s second round, led by two at the completion of round three and then all but assured himself of victory with three birdies early in his back nine this afternoon to open up an insurmountable lead.
Ikeda is in just his second season on the Japan Golf Tour following a rookie season in 2008 which had yielded him a runner up finish in the Tokai Classic and a 9th place finish at the Bridgestone Open in just nine events. He earned his full status on the Japan Tour by finishing 51st on the money list last season. At the Tokai Classic in 2008 he had also let a great opportunity slip when bogeying the final hole to finish runner up behind Toshinori Muto.
Today however Ikeda offered no such opportunity for his chasers and had the chance to enjoy his victory with a six shot lead as he played the last hole of what had been a lengthy day. He birdied the par five to open up his lead even further.
Ryuichi Oda finished alone in third place two shot shots behind runner up Tateyama.
Brendan Jones, after a poor start to the final round, birdied four of his last five holes to finish outright 6th, finishing as the leading Australasian. Eddie Lee finished 7th, only his third top ten on the Japan Golf Tour, Wayne Perske was 33rd, Paul Sheehan 37th and Scott Laycock 43rd.
The Japan Golf Tour will now take a one week break before the Gateway to the Open Mizuno Open near Osaka starting on June 25th. The Mizuno Open offers the leading four players a start in the Open Championship.