Kodaira wins as Poulter collapses at RBC Heritage
Six tournaments in six weeks has proved too much for Ian Poulter as his pursuit of a second PGA Tour title in just three weeks came to an abrupt end with a final round 75 this morning at the RBC Heritage Classic.
Firing a final round 66, it was Satoshi Kodaira who eventually claimed the title in a playoff with Korea’s Si Woo Kim for his first career PGA Tour title adding to his six Japan Tour titles.
“I was aware that the first tournament was won by Mr. Palmer. And I understand there’s a lot of great players that have won here. Being among that group is an honour,” said Kodaira.
“This course is very similar to courses in Japan. And during the practice round I felt very comfortable playing this course.”
Kodaira and Kim headed into extra time after closing their rounds tied at 12-under with the 28-year old Kodaira winning with a birdie two at the third extra hole. It was redemption for Kodaira, who had earlier bogeyed the same hole to slip back to 12-under.
WITB: Satoshi Kodaira
- Golf Ball: Titleist Pro V1x
- Driver: PRGR RS Prototype (10.5º)
- 3 Wood: TaylorMade M2 2017 (15º)
- 5 Wood: PRGR iD Nabla (18º)
- Driving Iron: PRGR iD Nabla RS Tour (3 iron)
- Irons: PRGR Tune (4-PW)
- Wedges: PRGR iD Nabla Tour (52º), Fourteen Golf RM-22 (60º)
- Putter: Scotty Cameron Tour Only Prototype
Up until last week’s 28th place finish at the Masters, Kodaira had shown no signs of any winning form in the US with his best finish since his PGA Tour debut in 2013 coming at the US Open with a T46. Incredibly he had never shot a round in the 60′s on the PGA Tour before this week – he can now tick that box, twice.
However he did win twice late last year on the Japan Tour at the Mitsui Sumitomo VISA Taiheiyo Masters and TOP Cup Tokai Classic and has amassed close to A$6 million (￥466,770,584) prize money in Japan.
All that is history now with the spoils of winning a PGA Tour tournament giving him the freedom to plan his schedule and the $1.2 million first prize cheque no doubt also helping financially.
“This is a stage of my career I’ve been dreaming about,” he said. “Having this opportunity to play full-time is a dream come true. So, of course, I will accept the full-time membership.”
Kodaira spoke of the inspiration he’s gained from following Hideki Matsuyama’s PGA Tour success.
“Hideki is a great player, and of course I’m not as good as him, but I’m getting closer. But his course management skills is what I’d like to learn from him or being better at management of the course,” he said.
“So, I feel that I’m getting closer to that level. So I’d like to do my best in major championships and hopefully work hard at it.”
Bryson DeChambeau moved up 17 places to share 3rd place alongside Luke List, who has three top-7 placings to his name this year.
List finished one shot out of the playoff following four bogeys on his back nine holes while DeChambeau made amends for his horror 75 yesterday with birdies on his closing four holes today.
Rod Pampling and Cameron Smith headed the Australian field finishing in equal 32nd place on 5-under. Smith had again put himself into contention but a third round 74, which included three double bogeys in a six hole stretch, saw his chances fall away.
Aaron Baddeley (T55) was the only other Aussie to make it through to the weekend with John Senden, Marc Leishman, Geoff Ogilvy and Greg Chalmers all missing the cut.