Song finishes 17th in Japan Pro Golf Dunlop… Amateur Sugiura wins

Younghan Song finished the Japan Golf Tour’s (JGTO) Dunlop Phoenix Tournament (200 million yen purse) in a tie for 17th place.

Song made two birdies and four bogeys for a 2-over-par 73 in the final four rounds of the tournament at Phoenix Country Club (Par 71-7,042 yards) in Miyazaki, Japan, on Sept. 19.

With a final total of 2-under-par 282, Song is tied for 17th place with Scott Vincent (Zimbabwe) and Hiroshi Iwata (Japan).

He was 10 strokes behind winner Yuta Sugiura (Japan) at 12-under par 272.

Song topped the leaderboard at the Sansan KBC Augusta in August this year, adding to his Japan Tour victory total to two, some seven years and seven months after the SMBC Singapore Open in January 2016 (co-sanctioned by the JGTO-Asian Tour).

The South Korean, who has eight top-10 finishes this season, did not finish in the top 10 in this event, but added 2.53 million yen in prize money to move into fifth place on the season money list (8.753 million yen).

On the day, Song continued her somewhat frustrating trend of making par on the front nine before faltering with back-to-back bogeys on the 10th and 11th holes.

She rebounded with birdies on 12 and 13, but a short putt on the 17th (par-3) dropped her a stroke. On the final 18th (par-5), she bogeyed again after her second shot went into the bunker and she was unable to improve her position.

Song said, “I hit the ball well today, but I missed a lot of putts. I had a lot of bad luck today, such as a ball that went to the middle of the fairway hitting a tree and going backwards, or a shot that went into a bunker and there was no sand, so it bounced around,” Song said.

The trophy went to Sugiura, the tournament’s only amateur competitor.

This is the first time an amateur has won the tournament, which began in 1974 and is in its 50th year.

The Dunlop Phoenix Tournament has a storied history, with world-class players such as Seve Ballesteros (Spain, 1977-1981), Tiger Woods (2004-2005) and Tom Watson (USA, 1980-1997) winning the event.

Sugiura, who was born in 2001 and attends Nihon University, has been recognized for his potential since finishing tied for third at last year’s Japan Open and won the Dunlop Phoenix Tournament Challenge on Japan’s secondary tour in September to qualify for the event.

He also competed at the Hangzhou Asian Games in September and October and was preparing for the third round of the JGTO Qualifying Tournament later this month when he announced his decision to turn pro, securing a spot in the remaining two JGTO events this season and a two-year seeding starting next year.

Sugiura didn’t receive the 40 million yen prize for winning as an amateur, but he did get to keep his Mercedes-Benz, which was damaged in the incident.

Sugiura said, “I was very nervous going into this tournament, but I think I played confidently for four days, which led to the win. I’m even happier that Hideki Matsuyama and other foreigners participated,” he said, adding, “I want to become a player who drives a lot of galleries like Matsuyama and Keita Nakajima.”

Nakajima, who leads the money list with three JGTO victories this year, tied for second (9-under-par 275) with Daiga Semigawa (Japan) to share the 30 million yen first prize.

Matsuyama, the 2014 winner of this event who has eight wins on the U.S. Professional Golf Tour (PGA) and eight on the JGTO, is tied for 10th (5-under par 279).

Brooks Koepka (USA), winner of this year’s PGA Championship and the 2016 and 2017 champion of the event, finished tied for 15th (3-under-par 281), this year’s U.S. Open champion Wyndham Clarke (USA) tied for 37th (1-over-par 285) and Jiho Yang (USA) tied for 49th (4-over-par 288). 슬롯