Australian Brendan Jones has finished in sixth place as the highest ranked non-Japanese player at the Japan PGA Championship in Hokkaido. Jones finished his tournament with a final-round 69 to end the day at minus two, 12 strokes behind clear winner Yuta Ikeda. Ikeda shot rounds of 69 and 65 to claim his maiden Japan Golf Tour title with a seven-stroke victory. With heavy rain preventing play at Eniwa Country Club on Thursday, the first two rounds took place on Friday and Saturday with the leading 65 players who survived the cut playing their final 36 holes on Sunday. Ikeda held a four-stroke overnight lead after firing a three-under-par 67 to reach the halfway mark on eight under, but the 23-year-old saw his margin trimmed to just two shots by Mitsuhiro Tateyama, who fired six birdies against a lone bogey for a five-under 65 in the third round. Both players birdied their first holes in the afternoon but Ikeda regained his four shot advantage at the turn as Tateyama made bogeys on the third and eighth. Ikeda asserted his dominance on the closing nine, making birdies on the 11th, 12th, 14th and 18th for a five-under 65 as he pulled away from Tateyama, who managed only a lone birdie on the 13th for a level-par 70. Ryuichi Oda shot 67 and 69 to finish alone in third on five under while Norio Shinozaki was a further shot back in fourth after rounds of 68 and 71. Ikeda, who finished in a tie for third at the season-opening Token Homemate Cup, moved up to second on the Japan Golf Tour money ranking behind Shingo Katayama. Katayama won the 2008 Japan PGA Championship, but did not defend his title this year in order to prepare for the US Open in New York next week.
Author: PA Sport