Kuramoto Six Others Headed to Champions Tour


Champions TourCALIMESA, Calif. -- Massy Kuramoto carded his second straight 2-under 70 and fourth consecutive sub-par round Monday to win the Champions Tour National Qualifying Tournament. He finished the six-round event at 3-under-par 429.
Kuramoto and the following six players all earned fully-exempt status on the Champions Tour for 2006. Kirk Hanefeld, who led after the fourth round, was the only other player in red figures as he ended at 1-under-par 431.
Second and third-round leader Joe Ozaki came in third place at plus-1. Keith Fergus (70), Bill Longmuir (74) and fifth-round leader Scott Masingill (75) shared fourth place at 2-over-par 435.
Rick Karbowski gained the final fully-exempt spot as he finished at plus-3.
The Santa Ana winds whipped through the Champions Course at PGA Southern California Golf Club throughout the six-day tournament, sending scores flying. The best scores came on Saturday when the winds calmed.
Eight players -- Jack Ferenz, Chris Starkjohann, James Chancey, Danny Edwards, former major league pitcher Rick Rhoden, Katsuysohi Tomori, Mike San Filippo and European Tour veteran Eduardo Romero -- finished between eighth and 15th to earn conditional status for the 2006 Champions Tour season.
James Mason fired a 6-under 66 on Monday, which tied for low score of the week, but it was only good enough to get him into a share of 25th place.
Kuramoto got off to a flying start with an eagle on the par-5 fourth to jump to minus-3. He kept climbing with a birdie at the next.
The 50-year-old tripped to a bogey at the sixth, though. He settled in with four pars in a row, before dropping another stroke on the 11th.
Kuramoto birdied the par-3 15th to get back to 3 under, but another bogey at the next dropped him down a stroke. The Japan native closed the tournament in style with a birdie at the last.
'It was a long six days and I am very tired,' said Kuramoto, a veteran of the Japan Golf Tour. 'I wanted to keep the ball low today and just play one shot at a time. I just tried to make par on every hole today, but the wind was very difficult. It feels good to finish. I am very happy.'
Hanefeld looked like he would be the man to take the top spot early on. He flew up the leaderboard with three straight birdies from the fourth. Hanefeld drained another birdie on the par-3 eighth to go to minus-three. However, he played the back nine in 2 over par to take second place.
Related links:
  • Leaderboard - Champions Tour Final Qualifying Tournament
  • Full Coverage - Champions Tour Final Qualifying Tournament