After 72 holes in Shiga, Japan, Scottish private Gemma Dryburgh thrived at Cita Golf, scoring a second straight 65 to win her first LPGA Tour title at the TOTO Japan Classic, finishing in -20 overall. Dreyburgh became the 11th Rolex winner for the first time in the season, setting the tour record for most first-time Rolex winners in a single year, which last occurred in 1995. The previous record, a 276th, is a 2019 Pure Silk.
“I was in Korea last week with my friends and I said ‘I remember you guys’ as a joke. But it’s great to be honest,” said Driburg, who became the fourth Scotsman to win the Tour and first since Catriona Matthew at the 2011 Lorena Ochoa Intifada. “This has been my dream for a long time. A lot of hard work has been put into this, so it means a lot.”
Starting on the last day with a single shot behind leader Momoko Ueda’s 54-hole, Gemma scored her first fly of the day after shooting 20 feet in fourth, and added second in seventh after placing three feet off the ground. Green color. She took the lead in the round after Ueda was ranked ninth, but the real difference maker came in at 11th, when Ueda made a double bogey for Dryburgh after an impressive showing with her 4-by-4-foot hybrid.
“That’s kind of a turning point in the tour I say. I had a really good shot there yesterday and hit the same club today, so I was confident I would be able to do it again,” Dreborg said. “But yeah, I got a great shot there and it was Nice bird at that. It was very difficult.”
She was out racing after 11, with Dryburgh distributing four more birds in her last six holes, including at the end for a ghost-free day, the perfect way to have a great week. “Very good, to be honest,” said Driburg, who joined the tour for the first time in 2018.
JLPGA winner Kana Nagai earned a 7-under-65, eight bird to one bogey appearance in her fourth combined event appearance, and a runner-up solo, a career best result in five games now on the LPGA Tour. “Because many Japanese played so well in the first three days, I tried to play in that mood. One of seven Japanese players out of nine Japanese players tied for eighth and best,” said Nagai, who was one of seven Japanese players tied for eighth and best. “I am really impressed that the LPGA players played so well so On a golf course they’re not used to.”
Lane Grant toured on the final day, with four sparrows in her opening nine slots, but two ghosts knocked out her chances of victory. She finished third after fourth-round 67, a new career best result on the 2022 Junior Tour. “I think I did well, unfortunately there was a ghost in the past that’s never fun, but until that point I did as best I could,” said Grant. “. “I had a good game, some hits, it was fun.”
Yuna Nishimura finished in third on her own at -13, while LPGA Tour winner Ayaka Furio, four-time JLPGA winner Mio Yamashita and Ueda tied for fifth at -12. Minami Katsu and Yuri Yoshida ended the tie in eighth at -11, with four players making it to the top ten with a tie at -10, including Rolex No. 1, Athaya Titikul. Thitikul rebounded after Saturday’s 73rd with 5-under 67 to earn the score 15 of the Top 10 for the 2022 season.
“I always love coming to Japan. She has a lot of memories,” said Thitikol. “I’ve got world number 1 here now, my caddy is wearing the green bib and celebrating on the first starting point in the first round, so it’s good memories for us.”
Defending champion Ai Suzuki tied for 28th after finishing the championship with a 3-over-75 and -6 lead overall.