Ueda takes playoff win in Japan

Momoko Ueda won on her home soil on Sunday, claiming the Mizuno Classic by edging out Shanshan Feng in a playoff.

Japan’s Momoko Ueda won on her home soil on Sunday, claiming the Mizuno Classic by edging out China’s Shanshan Feng in a playoff.

25-year-old Ueda, who also won this tournament, which is co-sanctioned by the LPGA Tour and the Japan LPGA Tour, back in 2007, beat Feng on the third playoff hole with a birdie.

She closed with a final-round three-under 69 to finish on 16 under alongside Feng, who shot a 65.

Both ladies had anopportunity to win the tournament outright at the 18th, but neither could convert their birdie putts.

“When I missed that birdie putt, I thought I had lost my luck to win,” said Ueda. “But my caddie told me just to enjoy this and just to finish it.”

Ueda had another opportunity to win on the first playoff hole, but she missed a short five-footer for birdie, while Feng two-putted for par.

“I really thought she was going to make that putt,” said the 22-year-old Feng. “I thought, ‘Good, she gave me another chance'”.

Returning to the 18th tee, they each made pars the second time around, before Ueda finally sunk a 15-foot putt for birdie to seal the win on the third playoff hole – to the delight of her local fans. Feng had a chance from 15 feet, but it narrowly missed.

“It was my first playoff ever in my life,” added Feng. “The third time we played that hole, she made a good putt to win and I feel happy for her. This was her week.”

South Korea’s Na Yeon Choi shot a 64, the best round of the day at Kintetsu Kashikojima in Shima-shi, Mie, to finish a stroke out of the playoff.

Scotland’s Catriona Matthew (67) and Taiwan’s Teresa (67) were tied for fourth at 13 under, and Americans Stacy Lewis (65) and Mina Harigae (69) were a further shot back along with Japan’s Sakura Yokomine (70).

Ueda earns $180,000 in the $1.2 million event for her win.

It’s her first win since 2009’s AXA Ladies Open, and her second on the LPGA Tour and ninth on the Japan LPGA.

Defending champion Jiyai Shin shot a 66 to tie for ninth at 10 under.