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Yuto Katsuragawa Triumphs at ISPS Handa Championship for His First DP World Tour Title

The 25-year-old golfer had five birdies after the turn in the final round of the ISPS Handa Championship to equal the Taiheiyo Club Gotemba Course record.

Yuto Katsuragawa fired a course-record equaling 63 on Sunday, April 28 to win the ISPS Handa Championship by three strokes over Sweden's Sebastian Soderberg.

Katsuragawa drained a long birdie putt on the par-4 No 15 at the Taiheiyo Club Gotemba Course in Shizuoka Prefecture to take a three-shot lead over Soderberg (67) heading down the home stretch.

The Japan tour player completed the back nine with five birdies in seven holes ― including a third straight on the 16th that allowed him to ease to victory with a 72-hole total of 17-under 263.

"I was very nervous on the back nine," Katsuragawa said. "My hands were shaking but I trusted myself and I managed to bring my golf.

"This course is beside Mount Fuji and very beautiful but it is a challenging course and I'm happy to win at a challenging course like this."

Ryosuke Kinoshita, seen hitting a bunker shot in the third round of the ISPS Handa Championship, finished in a four-way tie for third in the four-day event. (©SANKEI)

Japan's Ryosuke Kinoshita shot a final-round 69 to finish tied for third with South Africa's Christiaan Bezuidenhuit (65), Spain's Ivan Cantero (68) and Germany's Marcel Schneider (68).

The ISPS Handa Championship is co-sanctioned by the DP World Tour, the main men's professional golf tour of the European circuit, and the Japan Golf Tour Organization.

ISPS Handa Championship
Yuto Katsuragawa hits a tee shot during the final round of the ISPS Handa Championship. (©SANKEI)

Katsuragawa Targets Becoming a PGA Tour Member

With the win, Katsuragawa is set to take DP World Tour membership with a long-term goal of achieving dual membership with the PGA Tour.

"I have been practicing a lot to stand on the big stage," he said. "I can now go on the DP World Tour which is really great and I'm really happy with it. I'm aiming to become a member of the PGA Tour in the future."

ISPS Handa Championship
Yuto Katsuragawa blasts out of a bunker in the third round of the ISPS Handa Championship on April 27. (KYODO)

How Katsuragawa Won the ISPS Handa Championship

The 25-year-old Katsuragawa started the final round three strokes back of overnight leader Casey Jarvis of South Africa after the Japanese player shot his second straight round of 65 on Saturday following a 70 in the opening round.

Katsuragawa had a tap-in at the sixth that would put him in a share of the lead with Soderberg and he pulled ahead for good when the Swede bogeyed the par-4 10th hole.

Katsuragawa's maiden DP World Tour win comes in just his fifth start and is his second in this event, having lifted the trophy in 2022 before it was co-sanctioned by the two organizations.

Jarvis shot an impressive 6-under 64 in the third round and was aiming for his maiden DP World Tour victory. But he struggled with five bogeys against a lone birdie for a 4-over 74 that left him tied for 18th.

Japan's Ryo Ishikawa and JGTO tour veteran Toru Taniguchi failed to make the cut after Friday's second round.

Isao Aoki was the first Japanese winner in DP World Tour history at the 1983 European Open. There was a long 33-year span after that before another Japanese win when Hideki Matsuyama lifted the trophy at the 2016 WGC-HSBC Champions.

Katsuragawa made it back-to-back Japanese wins in regular DP World Tour events for the first time after Keita Nakajima's victory at the March 28-31 Hero Indian Open in New Delhi.

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Author: Jim Armstrong

The author is a longtime journalist who has covered sports in Japan for over 25 years. You can find his articles on SportsLook.

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