A late flurry of back-nine birdies wasn’t enough to lift Brendan Jones to a 15th Japan Golf Tour title at the Dunlop Phoenix Tournament in Miyazaki.
Yet to claim the Dunlop Phoenix during his stellar career in Japan, Jones began the final round tied for second but after scrambling to save par at his opening two holes was unable to make up any ground on the front nine, turning in even-par 36.
A birdie at the par-4 10th breathed some life into his title hopes and when he added another at the par-4 13th the top of the leaderboard was suddenly within reach.
A third birdie in the space of seven holes at the par-4 16th put Jones right in contention but he was unable to convert birdie opportunities at each of the closing two holes, finishing the week outright third, two shots behind winner Kodai Ichihara.
Recently becoming the first international player to earn more than Y1 billion in prizemoney in Japan, the cheque for Y13,600,000 this week saw Jones move past Brad Kennedy to be highest-ranked Australian on the Japan Golf Tour moneylist with two events remaining.
Jones is now in 14th position and Kennedy 15th after the Queenslander registered a third consecutive round of 69 to finish tied for 17th. Kennedy relied on his scrambling to make the turn on Sunday 1-under the card but two bogeys against three birdies on the back nine meant that he only improved three places on the leaderboard.
David Bransdon’s tie for 29th was his best result since April but he continues to walk the moneylist tightrope, sitting in 62nd position and needing to improve a couple of spots in the next two weeks to keep his card for 2019.
Kiwi Michael Hendry is in a similarly precarious position to Bransdon after his tie for 53rd saw him drop to 61st on the moneylist, his 3-under final round highlighted by an eagle at the par-5 18th hole.
Won Joon Lee was the only other Australian to make the cut, a final round of even-par 71 seeing him end the week tied for 41st and 39th on the moneylist.
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