Kuramoto wins, but Woosie’s smiling

Masahiro Kuramoto claimed victory on Sunday in the Handa Cup Senior Masters – then announced plans to compete in Europe.

Local hero Masahiro Kuramoto claimed a four stroke victory on Sunday in the Handa Cup Senior Masters on the European Senior Tour’s first visit to Japan – and then immediately announced plans to compete in Europe.

The Japanese veteran shot a final round 65 for a 17-under winning margin of 271 at Ohmurasaki Golf Club to finish well clear of Frankie Minoza of the Philippines and the Japanese duo of Satoshi Higashi and Kiyoshi Murota.

Major Champions Sandy Lyle of Scotland and Welshman Ian Woosnam, Scot Andrew Oldcorn and European Senior Tour Number One Boonchu Ruangkit of Thailand all shared fifth place on 12 under par but were never able to threaten the leader.

Woosnam, the defending champion, did however have the consolation of shooting a course record 63 in the final round.

“I am very happy to win this tournament, especially as it is the first time we have co-sanctioned with the European Senior Tour,” said the Kuramoto. “In the future I want to play in Europe and aim to play the Senior Open Championship and other events next year.”

Woosnam, who closed his golfing year in fine style in this 2011 season event with ten birdies and one bogey, said: “I played reasonably yesterday but I couldn’t hole the putts but then today they started going in early on and it’s just nice to get a good one for the last one of the year.

“It was a good defence. I wasn’t feeling well at the beginning of the week, but I’m starting to feel better now. I’ll be back to try to win again.”