A career-best nine birdies in the final round has propelled 44-year-old Queenslander Brad Kennedy to his third title on the Japan Golf Tour, claiming the Shigeo Nagashima Invitational SEGA SAMMY Cup by three shots.
Starting the third round in the rain-shortened event tied for eighth, Kennedy had four birdies and a single bogey in the opening nine holes on Sunday before needing just 12 putts to navigate the back nine and register an 8-under par round of 64 and his first win in almost five years.
“I haven’t won for in Japan for five years, I’ve forgotten a little about what it feels like so it’s good to have that feeling again,” said Kennedy.
“I was able to concentrate really well, I had a bogey on my second hole but I was able to accept that and switch my focus on to the next hole, then from the birdie on the 11th I just rode the wave home.”
The now 44-year-old has changed his approach to preparing for tournaments and has made a conscious effort to work on his physical fitness, a decision which clearly paid dividends.
“Since I’ve turned 44 I’m changing the way I train my body rather than my golf, this year has been all about fitness for me.
“Before this week I was concentrating on my body for four weeks and only started actually playing golf just before the event.
“It’s always difficult to win but I’m really happy of what I’ve achieved here this week, a lot of credit for this win also goes to my family who have been really patient with me, it’s nice to win one for them.”
Boasting a strong record at The North Country Club in Hokkaido over the past five years, Kennedy’s ball-striking and putting improved with every round until no one in the field was able to keep pace, his cheque for Y22,500,000 lifting him inside the top 10 on the Japan Golf Tour moneylist.
After a bright start to the tournament Won Joon Lee faded over the final two rounds to finish in a tie for 26th, one shot ahead of David Bransdon who also lost ground to the field over the weekend.
Kiwi Michael Hendry and Anthony Quayle were the only other Australasians to make the cut in Japan, Aaron Townsend, Brendan Jones, Scott Strange, Matthew Griffin, Aaron Wilkin and Andrew Evans failing to get past the 36-hole cutoff.