41 year old Canberra golfer, Brendan Jones, has won his 14th Japan Tour title and taken his career earnings on that tour to near A$12 million with a one shot victory over Japan’s Yuta Ikeda at the ANA Open in Sapporo in Hokkaido.
The defending champion Ryo Ishikawa finished alone in 3rd position, continuing a superb return from injury he experienced earlier in the year. Ishikawa has been 1st, 2nd and 3rd in his last three starts.
Jones had started the final day with a two shot lead over Daisuke Kataoka but two early bogeys and a good start by those around him had him trailing.
Ikeda, one of the Japan’s Tour’s leading players in recent years and the winner himself of 14 titles on that tour, began the final round four shots behind Jones’ lead but an outward nine of 3 under 33 and another birdie at the 10th had him sharing the lead until Jones played mistake free golf over the closing nine hole after his slow start to the day.
A bogey at the last by Ikeda and a birdie at the 17th by Jones gave the Australian the opportunity to close out the title with a par at the last and he was able to do so.
It had been more than three years since Jones won his last Japan Tour title when successful at the Mizuno Open in 2013 but there had been signs of late that his game was on the improve with several solid tournaments. His frustration had been in being unable to finish things off of late but, today, he did exactly that.
The $A 275,000 (equivalent) Jones wins moves him to 12th on this season’s money list and he now has access to all the remaining events of the season if he so chooses.
He will, however, play the next three events before heading back to Canberra for a short break and then tackling the rest of the season.
The win was even more satisfying for Jones as it was the first since his wrist surgery in late 2013, an operation that might have potentially spelt concern for his career and so to have won in the manner he did today will be especially gratifying for him.
Won Joon Lee was the next best of the Australians when he finished 19th moving him to 47th position on the money list.
The Japan Tour will now play the Asia Pacific Golf Championship near Osaka.