Dunlop Phoenix Tournament 2018

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Kodai Ichihara makes brilliant come‐from‐behind Victory

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"I thought it will be a playoff, so I was just waiting around."
But when Mikumu Horikawa missed his par saving putt, Kodai became the winner for the 2018 Dunlop Phoenix.

His buddies gathered to celebrate. One of which was Toru Taniguchi, who rushed out from the shower room to give a "water splash" to his fellow winner.

Kodai recalls his final round as a "miracle". He started 5 strokes behind the leader. He made a 10-meter birdie on 6th. On 9th, his second shot with 8 Iron from 151 yards holed in for eagle.
"Even how great you hit, to hole in like that is just luck. I was really lucky this week."

Right after that miracle eagle, he made a tap in birdie on 10th. At that moment his mind started to focus on winning. Then on final 18th, his third shot with a 52 degrees wedge from 105 yards went 1-meter to the pin. He read the straight uphill line perfectly and made the birdie.

"I have done great, so I was happy with myself. I did what I needed to do. There was nothing left for me to do. So, I just waited for the chance for playoff. If not, I was even satisfied with the second place."

But when Mikumu ended with the bogey, suddenly a big win dropped in Kodai's hands.

The defending champion and the World Number 1 Player, Brooks Koepka helped Kodai wear his winners' jacket.

"What an honor this is. Getting the jacket from the World Number 1. I would like to become a great player like him one day."

Kodai has won his first victory at this year's JGT Championship Mori Building Cup Shishido Hills in June. He achieved a ticket to the British Open with this win but couldn't make the cut.

"I want to try for the Major tournaments again. I am already 36 years old, but I want to keep being young and want to make a good result at Major tournaments. "

Kodai is famous for his flashy fashion. Today he wore trousers with pig, cow, chicken, and shark printed. They were all Miyazaki prefecture's well-known products. This season he has been wearing Miyazaki fashion brand P'MAS. He lost his tour card last year, but the company kept their sponsorship with him. Kodai was really glad that he could give back to his sponsor with this win.