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Golf | Asia

Jumbo Ozaki © Gallo Images

Jumbo on cloud nine after beating his age

Japanese veteran Masashi 'Jumbo' Ozaki achieved a rare feat on Thursday when the 66-year-old beat his age by shooting a pacesetting nine-under 62 in the first round of the Tsuruya Open at the Yamanohara Golf Club near Osaka.

Ozaki, the Japan Tour's most prolific winner with 94 victories, still plays regularly on the circuit but last lifted a title 11 years ago.

"Shooting my age is not something I try to do," he told the Kyodo news agency after charging three strokes clear of the field.

"But if you can't shoot six-under or seven-under when you play good golf you don't belong on the tour."

Ozaki was one stroke away from equalling the best round of his career as he returned nine birdies, one eagle and two bogeys.

He performed a little jig of delight after carding a three at the par-five 17th before signing off with a dropped stroke at the last hole.

"That eagle came from a good tee shot, a good second shot and a good putt," Ozaki said.

"Putting all three together is something to be happy about and I am. The dance I did just sort of happened."

Ozaki, who is in his 44th year as a professional, has not made the cut since the Bridgestone Open in October 2011.

His best finish in a major championship was a tie for sixth place at the 1989 US Open.

Ozaki has won the Japan Tour money-list 12 times but has only one tournament victory outside his country, the 1972 New Zealand PGA Championship.

He also has two golfing brothers, Tateo 'Jet' Ozaki and Naomichi 'Joe'.


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