Yokota surprise winner of Canon Open

It's been a long time between drinks for the 38 year old Shinichi Yokota. Today Yokota won his second Japan Golf Tour event 13 years after his first by defeating Ryo Ishikawa by two shots secure the Canon Open in Yokohama.

Yokota's only other victory came at the ANA Open in September of 1997 and while he has continued to maintain his playing rights in Japan during that period it has been more than two and a half years since even his last top ten finish.

It was a significant turnaround even in 2010 as until now he had not finished any better than 26th in 17 others starts this season. This week however he shared the lead after rounds two and three and recovered quickly from a bogey at his opening hole today to gain the lead with an outward nine of 33.

He held on over the closing holes despite a brilliant lat challenge from Ryo Ishikawa who birdied five of his last six holes after appearing to have lost any chance when he slipped to one over for the round and four behind the lead through ten holes.

Ishikawa finished alone in second position just ahead of Takahashi Kanemoto and Kazuhiko Hosokawa. Ishikawa returns to the top of the Japan Golf Tour money list.

All the plaudits however are with the winner who earns ¥30 million for his victory.

It was not a great week for the Australasian contingent, Aaron Townsend the best of them in a share of 29th position after what had been a good start to the week. Through 45 holes this week Townsend was very much in contention but could not build on the great start.

Importantly for Townsend however is that every little bit helps in his quest to retain playing rights in Japan. He moves to 91st on the money list with a just a few events remaining where he is likely to earn a start.

Townsend and other Australians need to be inside the top 70 if they are to be assured of playing rights in Japan in 2011 unless of course they have long term exemption through career performances.

Eddie Lee and Paul Sheehan were 50th this week and Chris Campbell 60th.

The Japan Golf Tour's next event will be the prestigious Japan Open being played this coming week in Nagoya.

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