Day of redemption for warhorse Hideto Tanihara at ANA Open

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Hideto Tanihara - TheGolfingHub
Hideto Tanihara overcame a three-shot deficit to win the ANA Open Golf Tournament on Sunday, securing his second victory of the season and bringing his career tally to 19. Photo: JGTO

JGTO veteran Hideto Tanihara overcame a three-shot deficit to win the ANA Open Golf Tournament on Sunday, securing his second victory of the season and bringing his career tally to 19.

The 44-year-old Tanihara shot a flawless five-under-par 67, featuring five birdies, in the final round for an 18-under-par total of 270  at the Sapporo Golf Club in Hokkaido Prefecture.

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This was one shot ahead of South Korea’s Song Young-han (67) and Koshiro Maeda (66).

Shugo Imahira and Hirotaro Naito carded 68 and 66, respectively, to share fourth with a 16-under-par 272.

Overnight leader Junichiro Kozuma managed only a 74 after taking a one-shot lead into the final round, settling for a tied eighth position with a total of 274.

The day clearly belonged to Tanihara, who continued to prove he remains one of the JGTO’s finest, still giving his younger rivals a run for their money.

Tanihara pulled off another come-from-behind victory, much like his previous triumph at the JAPAN PLAYERS CHAMPIONSHIP by Sato Syokuhin in June. Then, he overturned a two-shot lead held by 23-year-old Taiga Semikawa, before defeating another young contender, 20-year-old Taiga Nagano, in a playoff.

“Another come-from-behind victory… truly remarkable. Lately, I’ve been pulling off wins I hadn’t anticipated,” he remarked.

“With players like (Takumi) Kanaya and (Keita) Nakajima emerging, a new generation is making the race for the prize money king title more intense. Men’s golf is thrilling, so I hope you’ll continue to visit the venues and support us,” he added, addressing the fans.

“With this win, my tally reaches 19. Even at this age, I’ve secured two victories this season. I aim for a third this autumn and will keep pushing. I plan to challenge the younger players, so your continued support means a lot!” he joked.

Today’s victory marked the 15th time, out of 36 occasions, where he featured in the final group on the last day.

Tanihara also redeemed himself, having previously come close to winning the ANA Open. In 2014, he lost to Katsumasa Miyamoto in a playoff.

Leading final round scores:
270: Hideto Tanihara 68-69-66-67;
271: Koshiro Maeda 72-65-68-66, Song Young-han (Kor) 68-68-68-67;
272: Hirotaro Naito 69-71-66-66, Shugo Imahira 69-65-70-68;
273: Taiga Semikawa 68-68-71-66, Ryo Ishikawa 68-68-68-69;
274: Jinichiro Kozuma 67-64-69-74, Taiki Yoshida 67-67-67-73;
275: Tomoyasu Sugiyama 69-69-66-71.