Japan’s Satoshi Kodaira shot a final round 66 to get in a playoff and go on to win the 2018 RBC Heritage at Harbour Town.
The 28 year old overcame a 2-over 73 in round one with an 8-under 63 in round two, the low-round of the tournament. He closed with weekend scores of 70-66 to finish at 12-under 272, resulting in a playoff with South Korea’s Si Woo Kim.
After pars from both players on the first two extra holes (18-18), Kodaira sank a 24’ 6” putt for a birdie-2 at No. 17 to claim the victory. Kodaira wins in his 15th start on the PGA TOUR and secures his tour card and a two year exemption.
Kodaira, No. 46 in the Official World Golf Ranking entering the week and member of the Japan Golf Tour, has now made 11 cuts. His T28 finish in last week’s Masters Tournament was his previous-best showing.
In the 2017-18 PGA TOUR Season, Kodaira finished 54th at the World Golf Championships-Mexico Championship and T59 at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play. He missed the cut at the Sony Open in Hawaii and Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by MasterCard.
Kodaira becomes the first player from Japan to win on the PGA TOUR since Hideki Matsuyama at the 2017 WGC-Bridgestone Invitational.
Kodaira has collected six wins on the Japan Golf Tour, three second-place finishes, five third-place showings. He has a total of 36 top-10 finishes on that Tour.
Kodaira is the winner of two major championships on the Japan Golf Tour, the 2013 Japan Golf Tour Championship and 2015 Japan Open.
Reigning PLAYERS Championship winner Si Woo Kim made three birdies and no bogeys on his front nine (33) and three bogeys and no birdies on his inward nine (38) to shoot an even-par 71 to force sudden death with Japan’s Satoshi Kodaira at 12-under 272.
Bryson DeChambeau shot a final round 66 to finish T-3, along with Luke List who finished with a 72.
Ian Poulter, the 54-hole leader by a stroke over Luke List and Si Woo Kim, struggled to a 4-over 75 to finish at 9-under 275 (T7). Of six bogeys, five came on his inward nine holes.
From the 10th hole in round one through No. 2 in the final round, Poulter played 47 holes without a bogey. He had a 49-hole stretch without a bogey en route to his win at the Houston Open two weeks ago.
Kodaira was asked if he set out to go low and catch the leaders when he teed off on Sunday, “It was spread through by six strokes, so I was thinking mostly of getting in the top-10 so I can play next week. So I wasn’t really thinking about winning.”
The 2018 Heritage Champion credits Harbour Town for part of his victory this week because the course reminds him of courses in Japan. “It’s very similar to the course I grew up in in Japan, with all the tree lines, easy to pick targets. And the greens also, didn’t have any major issues. So it’s very similar to where I was playing in Japan.”
Runner-up Kim says nerves were not an issue today. “Rather than it being nerves, I think with the weather it kind of slowed the greens down and it kind of affected them, how I made the putts. But I tried my best and the putts didn’t drop. It is what it is”, said Kim.