Paul Sheehan holds the trophy after winning the Japan Open golf tournament in Kasumigaseki, north of Tokyo, on Sunday.
Paul Sheehan holds the trophy after winning the Japan Open golf tournament in Kasumigaseki, north of Tokyo, on Sunday.

Sheenhan wins Japan Open



FORMER Coffs Coast star Paul Sheehan put together another solid round while capitalising on a final-round collapse by money leader Shingo Katayama to win the Japan Open by three shots on Sunday.

Sheehan, who had a one-stroke lead over Katayama at the start of the final round, closed with an even-par 71 that gave the Australian his third career victory on the Japanese tour on seven-under at the Kasumigaseki Country Club.

Sheehan saw his lead widen to two shots with a front-nine 35 and briefly to four after a birdie on the 17th, which effectively assured him his first title in Japan following his victories in 2004 at the Fujisankei Classic and the Nippon Series JT Cup.

The 29-year-old earned Y40 million ($A446,880) out of the Y200 million ($A2.23 million) purse and a five-year exemption on the tour.

Azuma Yano matched Sheehan with a 71 and finished second at four-under 280.

Katsumasa Miyamoto, one of only five players who fired in the 60s, and Takuya Taniguchi (73) followed a further shot back in a tie for third place.

Defending champion and second-round leader Katayama got off to a disastrous start by dropping three shots in the first four holes en route to a three-over 75. He slipped into a five-way tie for fifth at 282.

"I feel great to win this prestigious tournament. I felt more pressure than I'd felt before and the course's setup was pretty tough today, but I'm fortunate I pulled it off," said Sheehan.

Sheehan set the tone for the rest of the day when he rolled in a delicate 2.5-metre putt for birdie on the par-3 fourth. After dropping a shot on the seventh, he parred the next nine holes and made his decisive birdie at No. 17 while his nearest pursuers struggled all afternoon in difficult course conditions.



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