Date: November 23, 2008

Marksaeng claims Dunlop Phoenix

Japanese teenager Ryo Ishikawa fell narrowly short as Prayad Marksaeng held on for a one-stroke victory at the Dunlop Phoenix tournament on Sunday. Ishikawa, 17, was seeking his second win within a month on the Japan Tour and pushed Prayad until the very end at Phoenix Country Club. He sank a seven-foot birdie at the final hole but it was not enough as Prayad made par from six inches to clinch his third victory of the year on the Japan Tour. He carded a closing 71 to finish eight-under 276 as Ishikawa (68) claimed second on seven-under. Spaniard Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano and Japanese duo Shigeki Maruyama and Hiroyuki Fujita were tied for third on six-under. Prayad, 42, was five shots ahead with eight holes left but double-bogeyed the par-three 11th and bogeyed the par-four 12th to leave the door open for his rivals. However, a birdie from 18 feet at the par-four 16th steadied the ship and the Thai player held on to claim the title. “I felt very tired and at first I was thinking of making the cut,” said Marksaeng, who jumped to third on the Japan Tour money list. “I didn&apost think about winning but the first day I played well and after the third round I was confident.” “The Japan Tour is like home. I really relax when I come to Japan and the quality of the courses has helped my game.” Ishikawa, meanwhile, couldn&apost quite give his gallery the victory it so badly wanted, but it nonetheless was another impressive performance by one so young. “My target was to get to eight-under today,” said Ishikawa, who is still attending high school when he isn&apost playing. “That was the winning score but I did not achieve my target.” American Brandt Snedeker made a great start with three birdies in the first four holes before slumping to a 72. “I got off to such a good start, gave myself a chance and just had a dreadful back nine,” lamented Snedeker, who tied for eighth on three-under. “I put myself in a lot of good positions off the tee, my iron game was a bit off, and I hit a bunch of good putts that lipped out and didn&apost go in.” Snedeker represents the United States at this week&aposs World Cup in China, while Marksaeng will play for Thailand. Steve Conran and Brendan Jones were the best of the Australian contingent, finishing the tournament nine shots off the pace one-over the card in equal 21st position.