Golfer Shiv finishes disappointing tied fifth at Panasonic Open

Chiba (Japan), April 24 (IANS) India’s Shiv Kapur struggled with an one-over 72 as he wasted a one-stroke overnight lead to finish a disappointing tied fifth after the fourth and final round of the Panasonic Open Golf Championship here on Sunday.

The 34-year-old, aiming to end an 11-year title drought on the Asian Tour, slipped out of contention when he double bogeyed the fifth hole after hitting a wayward drive.

He dropped another shot on the 11th but birdies on the 14th and 18th earned him his best result in 2016. The Delhi golfer took his four-day total to eight-over 276 (68-67-69-72) — five behind champion Yuta Ikeda (six-under 65) of Japan.

“I got off to a steady start but made one bad swing on five. I hit it left, then tried to hit a shot out of the trees but it hit a tree and went further into the bush and that compounded that error,” said Shiv in an Asian Tour release.

“It was one of those days where nothing happened for me. I was just trying to grind out the scores and make something happen,” he added.

“I’m obviously disappointed not to play better in the final round but I’m also proud with the fact that I came back, fought hard and made a couple of birdies in my last four holes.”

Shiv bagged $51,959.89 for his performance which put him in the 16th spot in the Asian Tour Order of Merit.

Among other Indians in the fray, Rahil Gangjee carded 70 to take his 72-hole total to one-over 285 and got a share of the 48th position.

Jeev Milkha Singh dropped 22 positions to be tied 74th on 290 total. Jeev struggled throughout the day with a 77.

Meanwhile, Ikeda of Japan produced a masterclass performance on the front nine to win the championship by three shots after closing with a 65 on Sunday.

The 30-year-old turned in 29 before marking his card with a birdie on the last hole to clinch his 14th title in Japan with a winning total of 13-under 271 at the 150 million Yen (approximately $1.27 million) event sanctioned by the Asian Tour and Japan Golf Tour.

He defeated current Asian Tour Order of Merit leader Marcus Fraser of Australia and K.T. Kim, who settled for tied second place after posting matching 68s at the Chiba Country Club, Umesato course.

Shugo Imahira of Japan finished a further shot back while Kodai Ichihara of Japan finished fifth alongside Shiv.

Ikeda got off to a flying start when he made 10 putts on the first nine highlighted by six birdies to take charge. He dropped only one shot on the 15th but tapped in for birdie on the last to clinch the title in style.

“It is great to win my 14th title in Japan and it is my first title after turning 30 (in December last year)!” said Ikeda, who won $273,473.

“I played so well on the front nine and that kept the momentum going for me. My first six birdies were really great. I was able to put pressure on the rest of the guys,” he said.

Ikeda’s decision to make adjustments in his equipment before the final round paid off handsomely as he cruised to his first win in 2016.

“I felt something was wrong. It really helped when I changed the shaft in my equipment because I was hitting better. I feel it is good to make adjustments when you feel something is wrong,” added Ikeda.

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