Japan’s Muto Clinches Panasonic Open Golf Championship Title
Japan’s Toshinori Muto collected his first Asian Tour title in style after closing with a second straight seven-under-par 64 to win by four shots at the Panasonic OPEN Golf Championship on Sunday.
The 41-year-old Muto halted a winless streak of four years after firing eight birdies against a bogey to cap a winning total of 21-under-par 263, setting a record lowest 72-hole score in the tournament that is celebrating its 10th edition this week.
Starting the day with a one-shot edge, Muto rode on his fine form to pull away from the chasing pack at the Higashi Hirono Golf Club. His four-shot triumph would also match the largest winning margin record in the tournament set earlier by Daisuke Maruyama in 2009.
Shugo Imahira, who entered the week as the second highest-ranked Japanese on the Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR), came in runner-up after closing with three straight birdies for a 67. Home favourite Ryo Ishikawa carded a commendable 66 to finish one shot back in third.
Asian Tour Order of Merit leader Jazz Janewattananond of Thailand battled to a 71 to finish in fourth place on 271. The result was enough to help him win the second edition of the Panasonic Swing series with 3,021 points and take home a top bonus prize of US$70,000.
Thai duo Poom Saksansin and Panuphol Pittayarat secured second and third places in the final Panasonic Swing rankings, earning US$50,000 and US$30,000 respectively from the reward scheme.
The ¥150,000,000 (approx. US$1,338,067) event, co-sanctioned by the Asian Tour and the Japan Golf Tour Organisation (JGTO), is the concluding leg of the 2018/19 Panasonic Swing.
The Panasonic Swing is based on an aggregate point ranking earned by players at the following five tournaments – 2018 Thailand Open, 2018 Panasonic Open India, 2018 Indonesian Masters, 2019 Maybank Championship (Malaysia) and 2019 Panasonic Open Golf Championship (Japan).
Scores after round 4 of the Panasonic Open Golf Championship being played at the par 71, 7058 Yards Higashi Hirono CC course (am – denotes amateur):
263 – Toshinori Muto (JPN) 65-70-64-64.
267 – Shugo Imahira (JPN) 65-69-66-67.
268 – Ryo Ishikawa (JPN) 72-62-68-66.
271 – Jazz Janewattananond (THA) 66-69-66-70.
272 – Jbe Kruger (RSA) 71-66-69-66, Hiroyuki Fujita (JPN) 70-70-66-66, Hosung Choi (KOR) 68-68-69-67, Katsumasa Miyamoto (JPN) 73-66-66-67.
273 – Brendan Jones (AUS) 67-70-66-70.
274 – Shaun Norris (RSA) 68-71-69-66, Shingo Katayama (JPN) 70-67-69-68.
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