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.