Kodaira clinches Heritage title

- Agence France-Presse, WASHINGTON

Apr 17, 2018-

Japan’s Satoshi Kodaira sank a 24-foot birdie putt on the third playoff hole to defeat South Korea’s Kim Si-woo and win the Heritage tournament on Sunday for his first US PGA Tour victory.

The 28-year-old from Tokyo had won six times on the Japan Tour but captured the biggest title of his career with a birdie at the par-3 17th at Harbor Town in Hilton Head, South Carolina. World No 46 Kodaira was coming off his best major showing, and what had been his top US result, with a share of 28th at last week’s Masters. Kodaira settled for the plaid jacket given to Heritage winners instead of the green one handed out at Augusta.

Kodaira also was excited to accept a berth on the US PGA Tour and several guaranteed tournament entries that will come with the triumph as a tour member. “This is a stage I’ve been dreaming about and having this opportunity to play full time is a dream come true,” Kodaira said.

Kim and Kodaira both finished 72 holes at 12-under 272, one stroke ahead of Americans Luke List and Bryson DeChambeau with Billy Horschel and Webb Simpson on 274. Kodaira and 51st-ranked Kim began the playoff by replaying the 18th hole. Both parred twice more as they had in the final round. Kodaira went up and down from beyond the green and sank a testy five-footer for par on the second playoff hole to extend the playoff.

Both had made bogeys at 17 in the final round but Kodaira sank his tricky putt and Kim missed to end the showdown. Kim, 22, was denied his third US PGA title after wins in 2016 at Greensboro and last May at the Players Championship. Kodaira, who shot 63 on Friday, fired a final-round five-under 66 to charge into the hunt. 

He opened with three birdies, began the back nine with another then sank birdie putts of 28 feet at the par-3 14th and 10 feet at the par-5 15th but missed the 17th green and made bogey. He still needed the leaders in the final group to back up and that’s what they did, Kim firing a par 71 while List shot 72 and 54-hole leader Ian Poulter of Britain closed on 75—threesomes being used in a bid to finish before predicted storms arrived.

Poulter saw his title hopes collapse with five bogeys on the back nine, fading at the end of his sixth consecutive week of playing to a final-round 75. The 42-year-old Englishman, who won the Houston Open two weeks ago to earn a Masters berth, shared seventh with Americans Bill Haas, Kevin Streelman, Patrick Cantlay, Chesson Hadley and Kevin Kisner and South Korea’s An Byeong-hun on 275.

Published: 17-04-2018 08:45

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