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Surprise winner at Kansai Open - near miss for Strange

Strange goes close to first win in seven years (Photo: Bruce Young)
26 year old Korean Byung Min Cho became yet another first time winner on the Japan Golf Tour with his one shot victory over Tomohiro Kondo and Australia’s Scott Strange at the Kansai Open Golf Championship in Wakayama.

For Cho, it was not only his first victory in Japan but his first in professional golf and it came at his very first start in Japan, having played the Korean and China Tours in his career to date.

Cho gained access to this event through Japan Tour Qualifying last year where he finished 25th.

Cho put together a final round of 70 on a day where scoring never reached any great heights on the demanding Hashimoto Country Club but he came from five shots off the 54 hole pace set by Strange to win.

Strange was chasing his first win anywhere in seven years but although he began the final day with a three shot lead over Jun-Won Park he faltered early, recovered, then fell away over the closing stages to finish just one behind his playing partner Cho.

Brad Kennedy continued his remarkable record in this event to finish as the next best of the Australians when he tied for 5th.

Kennedy has been 1st, 2nd 3rd and now 5th in his last four starts in this event despite the tournament being staged at different venues each year.

The Japan Tour now moves to Okayama for this week’s Gateway to the Open Mizuno Open, so named because, in addition to the title, it offers four places at this year’s Open Championship at Royal Troon.

Several Japan Tour players will tomorrow also play Sectional Qualifying for the US Open about 90 minutes from where they played this week.  

 

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