World No.1 amateur wins Japan Open, Scott 6th
World No.1 amateur Taiga Semikawa has won his second JTGO tournament of the season and become the first amateur to win the national title in its 95-year history with a two-shot victory over Kazuki Higa at the Japan Open on Sunday.
The 21-year-old is also the first amateur in Japan Golf Tour history to secure at least two tournaments before turning pro. Semikawa won his first JTGO title a month ago at the co-sanctioned Panasonic Open Golf Championship.
Adam Scott (Credit: Japan Tour)
“I’m delighted to win this tournament, which only one amateur had won in the past. I didn’t think I could save par on the final hole, but I knew my putt was going in when I saw it rolling toward the cup,” said Semikawa.
The Tohoku Fukushi University student didn’t have it all his way. Despite heading into the final round with a six-shot lead and opening with back-to-back birdies, Semikawa struggled under the pressure.
An early bogey at the 5th followed by a near-disastrous triple at the par-4 9th along with a dropped shot at the 17th saw him close with a 3-over 73 and 10 shots over his superb 7-under 63 on Saturday.
“Now that I have won twice, I’m going to raise the bar even higher and expect even more from myself,” said Semikawa.
“Winning the Panasonic Open and now the Japan Open has changed my perspectives and mindset. I want to build on this. My dream is to win all four majors.”
Making his sixth appearance at the Japan Open, Adam Scott fired rounds of 71, 72, 68 and 71 to finish in equal 6th to claim his third top-10 finish since making his debut here in 2014.
“I had a great week, it’s been a fantastic tournament but of course, when you don’t win, it’s all the frustrations, especially on a very difficult golf course,” said Scott, who closed on 2-over alongside Terumichi Kakazu and Chan Kim.
“I’m disappointed with my result, but I saw a lot of good things in my game. On this incredibly tough golf course, I think my standard of play was nearly very good.”
Brad Kennedy (T21) and Adam Bland (T23) were the only other Australians to make the weekend cut of 6-over.
Anthony Quayle (+8), Todd Sinnott (+11) and amateur Harrison Crowe (+15) all missed the cut.
The Japan Open Championship has been won only twice by Australians – Craig Parry (1997) and Paul Sheehan (2006).