Date: March 24, 2016
Author: Christian Puccini

Japan’s Shina Kanazawa wins Rene Erichsen in playoff

20 year-old, Shina Kanazawa from Japan, has won the 2016 Rene Erichen Salver with a par on the first playoff hole after finishing the 72 hole tournament at 9-under.

Kanazawa and Robyn Choi from Queensland traded blows throughout the final round with Choi edging ahead thru 14, before Kanazawa regained a shot making birdie on the par-5 15th.

Kanazawa made bogey again on 16, but hit back immediately, sinking a long range birdie putt on the 17th to level the scores.

Choi made a clutch putt on 18 before Kanazawa tapped in to force a playoff.

On the first playoff hole, Choi’s wayward drive found the left bunker while Kanazawa was in perfect position in the centre of the fairway.

Kanazawa was centre of green for two, while it would take three for Choi to reach the green. Two putts were then enough for Kanazawa to claim her first international championship win.

Kanazawa appeared to handle the occasion quite well and remain cool under pressure.

“I was very nervous, but Yuki (Ikeda) and head coach Gareth Jones came to the tee ground so it eased my tension pretty well and I was able to have fun in that playoff,” Kanazawa said.

Kanazawa was superb over the four rounds firing scores of 72, 73, 68, 70. Her 5-under third round was in fact a women’s course record at Royal Adelaide.

When asked if she was happy with her win, Kanazawa said “I’m very happy”.

With Coach Gareth Jones on hand throughout the week, Shina was well prepared to tackle the Royal Adelaide layout.

“She has been playing great all week, but the main focus for today was to try and get the ball in position, get the ball underneath the hole as much as possible and if she did get out of position try and get it in place for the next shot and she did great,” Jones said.

Queensland Robyn Choi was gallant in defeat to finish second with rounds of 71, 72, 70, 70 and at 9-under should be satisfied with her week.

Finishing third was Japan Team member Riri Sadoyama who carded rounds of 72, 76, 71, 72 (1-under). The 15-year-old, no doubt has a bright future.

The Japanese contingents commitment to the tournament couldn’t be questioned, with Kanazawa and Team Japan the last to leave Royal Adelaide each evening and after the third round were on the practice green for one hour after all other players had departed.

In her best result in a ranking event, South Australian Elysia Yap (Glenelg GC) posted a final round 75 to finish 1-over for the tournament and fourth overall.

Next best South Australian was Ella Adams (The Grange) 10th at 13-over (75, 77, 76, 77) followed by Jin-young Yun (The Grange) in 11th at 16-over (75, 72, 79, 82).

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