Oiwa clinches Combiphar Players meet in dramatic fashion

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Japan’s Ryuichi Oiwa captured his first Asian Development Tour (ADT) title after he beat American Trevor Simsby in a dramatic second hole playoff victory to claim the Combiphar Players Championship on Friday. 

Simsby had led by two shots coming into the final round, but Oiwa who started the day in second, posted the lowest score of the day with a six-under-par 66 to tie Simsby for a four-day total of 12-under-par 276. 

It was all square after 18-holes, and playoffs beckoned to decide the winner. After both golfers made par on the first playoff hole, Simsby bogeyed the second hole, leaving Oiwa to make par and clinch a momentous triumph. 

Englishman Steve Lewton finished in third courtesy of a 67, while Chinese Taipei’s Wang Wei-lun was in fourth after he posted a 70.

Korea’s Joohyung Kim was among a trio of golfers who finished in tied-fifth thanks to a solid round of 67, along with Thai duo Chonlatit Chuenboonngam (69) and Jakraphan Premsirigorn (73).

Oiwa admitted he felt immense pressure heading into the playoffs, but kept his focus when it mattered most. 

“It was a pressure situation for sure. But I knew it was all about the putting, and I needed to concentrate. Overall, I missed only one fairway and made six birdies. I was confident with my tee shots and second shots,” said Oiwa, who pocketed US$17,500 for the victory. 

The world number 1233 also said he did not change his approach for this tournament, except for the use of  a new putter. 

Oiwa, who began on the last flight with Simsby, found two consecutive birdies on the third and fourth before claiming another on the sixth hole. 

He began the back-nine with two consecutive birdies, and sank a crucial one in the final hole to force the playoffs. 

Victory also puts the Japanese seventh on the Order of Merit (OOM) list, which offers a final spot to the Asian Tour next year. 

“I hope to play in another two more tournaments this year to secure my Asian Tour card. I will be playing in the Taifong Open in December, and possibly another event in Malaysia.”

Simsby, who led the second and third round, said his putting let him down. 

“Overall my putting wasn’t the greatest, and there were a lot of missed opportunities. But it was a good battle with him out there, and I had a lot of fun,” said Simsby, who was seeking his first win in Asia. 

The OOM standings has also changed, with Kim replacing Japan’s Naoki Sekito at the top after his solid finish. 

The Korean leads the money list with his accumulated earnings of US$45,444 so far. 

Final round scores

276 – Ryuichi Oiwa 71-68-71-66 (JPN)
276 – Trevor Simsby 69-69-70-68 (USA)
282-   Steve Lewton 75-72-68-67 (ENG)
283 – Wang Wei-lun 69-73-71-70 (TPE)
286 – Joohyung Kim (KOR) 73-75-71-67, Jakraphan Premsirigorn 71-71-71-73 (MAS), Chonlatit               Chuenboonngam 74-70-73-69 (THA)    
287 – Mitchell Slorach 72-75-70-70 (SGP), Amir Nazrin 73-70-72-72 (MAS)
289 – Tarik Can 71-76-71-71 (USA), Brett Munson 71-73-72-73 (USA)

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