Smail no snail at Japan's Casio Open
BY Bruce Young | Japan Tour | 2002 Casio World Open | Wrap | 02 Dec 2002
What a year for David Smail and for that matter New Zealand golf. On the southern island of Kyushu about an hour from Kagoshima yesterday, David Smail won his second event of the year by beating another down under player going well lately, Brendan Jones. Smail had, of course, won the Japan Open just a few weeks ago.
For Smail, the win elevates him to 6th place on the Japan Tour money list with earnings of nearly 80 million yen or $A1,200,000. Brendan Jones, in the middle of a great run of form and following on from his win at the Philip Morris six weeks ago, was second after leading into round four but he was unable to hold off the charge of Smail. The Kiwi fired a last round 64 (including a homeward nine of 30), including an eagle at the uphill par five last to leave them all in his wake and win by two strokes.
Tsukasa Watanbe was third with Jumbo’s brother, Jet Ozaki in fourth.
New Zealander Richard Lee was fifteenth but unfortunately for Richard, despite a very impressive first season in Japan, it looks as if he will be back to the tour school. He is currently 73rd on the money list with the top seventy guaranteed some level of starts next year. If he can regain some form of status on tour, then this solid first season will stand him in good stead for the future. He played this season a limited status and was not able to get the number of starts or indeed continuity that he needed, but I feel sure he will be back.
Anthony Gilligan was 33rd, Richard Backwell 42nd and Steve Conran 65th.
For both Smail and Jones the Japan Series starts in Tokyo on Thursday, an event that is essentially the Japan Tour Championship bringing together the top twenty or so players from the money list. Scott Laycock would also have been eligible but he is in California this week at final stage of qualifying for the US PGA Tour.