Paul cruises to strong win



TOKYO (AFP): Former Coffs Harbour golfer Paul Sheehan birdied the first hole to tie for the lead on his way to a comfortable four-stroke victory at the season-ending Nippon Series golf tournament.

Starting the day one stroke behind overnight leader Keiichiro Fukabori, Sheehan sank five birdies against one bogey for a 66, finishing at a four-round total of 14-under-par 266.

South Korea's Yang Yong-Eun shared second place with Japan's Katsumasa Miyamoto on 270, ahead of David Smail of New Zealand and Fukabori on 271.

Sheehan, 27, won a challenge tournament for his first win in Japan in 2002 and started competing in the tour the following year.

"I'm very happy, because I didn't think I would win this week," said Sheehan.

"It feels great to win in the last tournament of the season. It's the best gift for my family in Australia."

It was the Australian's second title on the Japan tour, following his victory at the Fuji Sankei Classic in May.

Sheehan's win, which carried the winner's cheque of Y30 million ($A376,000), was also a record on the Japan tour for foreign golfers, who won 15 out of 29 tournaments this season against Japanese golfers.



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