Close shave for Scott Strange at Kansai Open

Australia’s Scott Strange has come agonisingly close to a near wire-to-wire victory on the Japan Golf Tour, finishing in a tie for second place at the Kansai Open Golf Championship on Sunday.

Strange lead by four after 36 holes and three after 54, but struggled with the pressures of the lead on the final day to shoot a five-over round of 76 to finish one shy of the winner, Korea’s Byun-Min Cho.

Scott Strange Scott Strange (Credit: Anthony Powter)

In closing with a final round one-under 70, Cho prevailed to win his first career professional event in his very first start on the Japan Golf Tour.

The 26-year old plies his trade on the Korean and China Tours but this result will certainly be a life changer, with exemption now guaranteed in Japan for at least the next two seasons.

39-year old Strange was looking for his first victory since the 2009 Volvo China Open but had to settle for a tie for 2nd place with Japan’s Tomohiro Kondo at five-under.

Brad Kennedy had his best result of the season to date to extend his remarkable record in this event in recent years.

A past winner of the Kansai Open, Kennedy finished in a tie for 5th place at three-under, while Adam Bland finished strongly with a round of 68 to finish in a tie for 15th.

Four places in The Open Championship at Royal Troon will be on offer as the Japan Tour stages the Gateway to the Open Mizuno Open in Okayama this week..

Coincidentally Strange finished runner-up at last year’s Mizuno Open to punch his ticket to the British Open, where he finished missed the cut.