Izawa wins Japan PGA Championship
BY Bruce Young | Japan Tour | 2007 Japan PGA Championship | 13 May 2007
39-year-old Japan Golf Tour veteran, Toshi Izawa, today survived a last nine holes struggle to win his 17th Japan Golf Tour event and his first Japan PGA Championship in Okinawa Prefecture.
Izawa, who won his first event in Japan at the Japan Open in 1995, has been a dominant force on the Japan Golf Tour since. In 2001 he went very close to winning the PGA Tour’s Nissan Open when he formed part of a six way playoff in the event won by Robert Allenby. Later that year he finished 4th at the Masters in addition to winning five times on the Japan Golf Tour that season, so although he has played mainly in Japan, Izawa has shown himself to be a world class player on occasions.
This, however, was Izawa’s first win in nearly two years on the Japan Golf Tour and his first Japan PGA Championship title. In order to do so he was forced to lead throughout in the prestigious event and took a two shot lead into today’s final round over Shoichi Ideguchi. He appeared to be cruising at the turn today on a day where scoring on the demanding Kise Country Club was tough but over the closing holes he began to perhaps feel the pinch in leading the event for so long. Fortunately for Izawa those who had started closest to him on the final day were not able to mount a late challenge and it would be Satoru Hirota who finished second after a last round of one under par 71.
Izawa created a two shot buffer with one hole to play when he birdied the par three 17th but a bogey at the last had him home by just one. It was, however, sufficient for the veteran to earn a huge pay cheque of ¥26 million.
Craig Parry was the best of the Australians after a round of 68 that included two bogeys in the middle of his back nine. He finished with two birdies in his last three holes to finish in a share of 5th place, his best finish on the Japan Golf Tour since making the decision to quit the PGA Tour and play in Japan again on a permanent basis.
Brendan Jones finished 10th continuing an impressive start to the 2007 season but lost a place on the money list after Izawa went past him. He is now in fourth place.
Wayne Perske was 15th, Scott Laycock 41st and Chris Campbell 46th.
The Japan Golf Tour now moves north to Okayama Prefecture for the Munsingwear Open KSB Cup.