Ikeda clinches Asia-Pacific Diamond Cup
Saitama, Tokyo, September 23: Yuta Ikeda of Japan won his 20th career title in sensational style after shooting a final round three-under-par 68 at the Asia-Pacific Diamond Cup on Sunday.
The 32-year-old Ikeda romped to an impressive six-shot victory after ending his campaign on 15-under-par 269 at the JP¥150 million (approximately US$1.35 million) event sanctioned by the Asian Tour and Japan Golf Tour Organization.
The in-form Justin Harding of South Africa, who claimed two titles in his first two starts on the Asian Tour in 2018, registered a 66 to finish in second place at the Musashi Country Club, Sasai Course.
Ikeda, who held an overnight one-shot lead, bogeyed the first hole but steadied ship with birdies on holes two, four and six. As his closest challengers faded, Ikeda marked his card with another birdie on 15 to cruise to a comfortable victory.
Ranked 98th on the Official World Golf Ranking, Ikeda secured his first title in 2018 to continue an impressive winning record where he has won every season since 2009.
The 32-year-old Harding produced the round of the day but it was not enough to challenge the impeccable Ikeda. Despite settling for second place, he moved to eighth position on the Habitat for Humanity Standings.
The leading 10 players on the Habitat for Humanity Standings on October 8 will qualify for the lucrative CIMB Classic next month.
Did you know?
- This is Ikeda’s 20th victory on the JGTO and second on the Asian Tour. He is now the eighth player to win 20 titles in Japan alongside Graham Marsh, Toru Nakamura and Toru Taniguchi. Masashi ‘Jumbo’ Ozaki holds the record of most wins in Japan with 94 titles.
- Ikeda is the only player to finish the tournament in double digits. His six-shot win equals the largest winning margin on the Asian Tour this year. He is also the first Japanese player to win on the region’s premier Tour in 2018.
- He started the tournament slowly when he opened with a 69 but showed his class in round two when he shot a 66 in raining conditions followed by another 66 in the penultimate round.
- Ikeda will earn 15 Official World Golf Ranking points for the victory which also includes a cool prize purse of US$266,514. A member on the Asian Tour, he will move to seventh position on the Habitat for Humanity Standings.
- He is now five victories from earning a lifetime membership on the JGTO.
- Ikeda was one of the star performers for Team Asia against Team Europe in the biennial EurAsia Cup. Despite Team Asia’s defeat, Ikeda was unbeaten and helped his team secure three points.
- Harding made a huge move from his overnight 16th placing. He played under-par for three rounds except the second day where he struggled in the rain to return with a 74.
- He is enjoying the form of his life at the moment. He won back-to-back titles in his first two starts on the Asian Tour, in addition to his two victories on the Sunshine Tour earlier this year.
Scores after round 4 of the Asia-Pacific Open Golf Championship Diamond Cup being played at the par 71, 7060 Yards Musashi GC course (am – denotes amateur):
269 – Yuta IKEDA (JPN) 69-66-66-68.
275 – Justin HARDING (RSA) 67-74-68-66.
276 – Hiroshi IWATA (JPN) 65-69-71-71.
277 – Kenichi KUBOYA (JPN) 67-70-70-70, Shaun NORRIS (RSA) 70-69-68-70, Rikuya HOSHINO (JPN) 69-70-68-70, Sanghyun PARK (KOR) 68-71-68-70, Kurt KITAYAMA (USA) 67-70-68-72.
278 – Prayad MARKSAENG (THA) 66-73-72-67, John CATLIN (USA) 69-72-66-71, Yuki INAMORI (JPN) 65-72-69-72, Adilson DA SILVA (BRA) 69-70-67-72.
279 – Ben LEONG (MAS) 73-69-68-69, Scott VINCENT (ZIM) 67-74-66-72.
280 – Yosuke ASAJI (JPN) 68-73-70-69.
281 – Shugo IMAHIRA (JPN) 68-71-72-70, Ryosuke KINOSHITA (JPN) 69-70-71-71, Masahiro KAWAMURA (JPN) 67-71-69-74, Danthai BOONMA (THA) 65-74-68-74, Yikeun CHANG (KOR) 70-68-64-79.