Kobayashi wins Asia-Pacific Open
Japan's Asian Tour rookie Masanori Kobayashi played a dream front nine on Sunday to win the Asia-Pacific Panasonic Open on home soil.
Kobayashi got seven-under-par 28 on the first nine holes at the Higashi Hirono Golf Club in Tokyo for a nine-under-par 62 and a winning total of 17-under-par 267.
Just behind was Koumei Oda, who closed with 67 for second, as Shiv Kapur of India and Juvic Pagunsan of the Philippines split fourth place with 67 and 71 respectively at the 150 million yen ($1.9 million) event sanctioned by the Asian Tour and Japan Golf Tour.
"My dream was always to win on the Asian Tour and in Japan and I've enjoyed the best of both Tours. This is indeed a very happy occasion in my career," said Kobayashi, 36, who took home US$381 000 in prize money.
Kobayashi, who earned his Asian Tour card at Qualifying School in Thailand earlier this year, overcame a six-shot deficit to battle to his first Asian Tour win with five birdies and an eagle on the front nine, followed up with three birdies and one bogey on the back.
"This win does so much for me because I get to play in all the events on the Asian Tour. There are many big events coming up so this win puts me in good position," said Kobayashi.
Reigning Asian Tour No 1 Pagunsan struggled early in the round as he was six-over after seven holes, but was fighting to the finish the day on even-par and four shots from the champion.
"I had a bad start. I missed a lot drives but I'm pleased with how I fought. It is a really nice comeback. I told myself I need to play good again and the birdie on eight was the turning point for me," said Pagunsan.
LEADING FINAL-ROUND SCORES
267 - Masanori Kobayashi (JPN) 74-64-67-62
268 - Koumei Oda (JPN) 64-69-68-67
270 - Masamichi Uehira (JPN) 66-68-65-71
271 - Shiv Kapur (IND) 67-68-69-67, Tomohiro Kondo (JPN) 66-69-66-70, Juvic Pagunsan (PHI) 67-66-67-71
272 - Hwang Jung-gon (KOR) 67-70-67-68, Hideto Tanihara (JPN) 67-67-69-69, Wu Ashun (CHN) 67-69-67-69, Masahiro Kawamura (JPN) 70-65-66-71
273 - Liang Wen-chong (CHN) 69-71-68-65, Darren Beck (AUS) 68-65-70-70
274 - Marcus Fraser (AUS) 70-70-67-67, Kunihiro Kamii (JPN) 69-72-64-69, Yoshinobu Tsukada (JPN) 68-69-68-69, Hiroyuki Fujita (JPN) 64-68-70-72