Tournament article

Japan PGA Championship 2019

Ryo Ishikawa wins the playoff against Jung-Gon Hwang ang grabs the Japan PGA Title

It was long and tiring 36 holes on Sunday at Ibusuki Golf Club and the winner was decided on another extra hole.

Ryo Ishikawa and Jung-Gon Hwang were in the same final group for the 36 holes. For the first 18 holes, Ryo had very tough moments as he had bogey and 2 double bogeys from 4 to 6. He also made 2 more bogeys on 11 and 12 to plunge out from the contention. But he picked himself up and got back into the action by making 3 straight birdies from 16 to 18.

By the start of the last 18 holes, Ryo was at 9 under, 4 shots behind then leader Ryoko Tokimatsu, and Jung-Gon Hwang at 12 under.

The battle between Ryo and Jung-Gon during the final 18 holes was led by Jung-Gon. Both made 2 birdies on the front nine, but Ryo declined with a bogey on 7th. But on 12th, where Jung-Gon bogeyed and Ryo making a birdie, it was 2 shots swing.

Then the drama came on the Par 3 17th. Jung-Gon's tee shot made it to the edge of the green but fell off into the water. He then got 1.5 meters to the pin but failed to make his bogey putt. On the other hand, Ryo couldn't make the birdie putt, but both were tied as co-leaders heading into the final Par 5 18th.

On the 72nd hole, 36th hole of the day, both Ryo and Jung-Gon got on the green in 2. Jung-Gon had more than 20-meter uphill eagle try, but he got it to a tap in birdie. Then Ryo also aimed for the eagle putt which was about 10-meters, went straight to the cup but was just a touch different. Both ended the regulation with birdies to score 13 under, and the game went on to the playoffs.

The playoff was held on 18th. Ryo shot his tee shot first. His shot went a bit right, but it bounced on the cart path and he gained more yardages, which left him only 199 yards to the pin. Jung-Gon also found the fairway and his 2nd shot went to right side of the green, which was about the same place Ryo's ball was on 72nd hole. Ryo got his 2nd shot to within 5-meters back of the pin in 2 and had the winning eagle putt left. Jung-Gon's shot his eagle putt well and it went about 1.5 meters pass the hole. Then it was Ryo's turn. He recalled on his interview that he usually doesn't believe on his own read, but he read it as a slight left to right downhill line. Ryo made the winning eagle putt and made a fist pump and a roar. As fans screamed to congratulate his comeback win since 2016, Ryo was in tears.