All it takes is one week.
Satoshi Kodaira entered this week missing his last two cuts. He has only been able to pick up four top 10s this season, and he's seen himself slip to 221st in the Official World Golf Rankings. After an opening round 71, Kodaira looked on his way for another lackluster week.
If everything worked according to the script, however, it wouldn't be golf.
Kodaira shot up the leaderboard with a second round 62, and played just well enough to win the 80th Japan Open Championship, the most prestigious event on the Japan Golf Tour.
It wasn't easy. Kodaira birdied the first hole of the final round, but was really unable to get any momentum going. He made the turn at one under par, but a bogey on the 10th hole brought him back to the pack. Another bogey on the 13th saw him tied for the lead, but a birdie on the 15th was all that was needed for the 26 year old from Tokyo to pick up his third Japan Tour victory.
This is Kodaira's second Japan Tour major after winning the Japan Golf Tour Championship back in 2013. This one, however, is more prestigious, and gets him into the field at a few WGC events next season. It also secures him an invitation into next season's Open Championship.
Kodaira had to hold off one of the Japan Tour's heavyweights in order to secure his victory. Yuta Ikeda, looking to repeat as Japan Open champion, entered the final round two strokes back. Ikeda was not his usual self for most of the round, as mistakes early cost him three strokes in four holes. Ikeda got them all back with birdies on 6, 7, and 9 to finish the front side. He would shoot a final round 71, but he would end up being one birdie short. Ikeda, however, is on an incredibly impressive hot streak. This runner up finish is his sixth top 10 in a row, and seventh in eight weeks. Ikeda has now leaped into second on the Japan Tour money list, and looks to be a lock to make the field at the WGC-HSBC Champions at the end of the month.
Korea's Young-Han Song finished in solo third. It is Song's third top five finish of the season, but he is still searching for his first Japan Tour victory. Countryman Jung-Gon Hwang finished one shot further back in solo fourth. It is Hwang's second straight top 10 finish.Hwang has two Japan Tour victories, but hasn't won in three years. Thailand's Prayad Marksaeng, a winner earlier this season, picks up his first top 10 finish since his victory in July.
Japan Tour legend Shingo Katayama finished in solo sixth after a final round 69. After struggling to begin the season, Katayama appears to have found his rhythm again. This is his third straight top 10 finish. The 42 year old from Chikusei is seeking his 29th Japan Tour victory.
Three heavyweights finished T7. Hideto Tanihara, a ten time winner on Tour, is looking to find his form after struggling to begin the season. This is only his third top 10 of the season, but he also only missed three cuts, and has now finished inside the top 25 in his past four starts. The 36 year old is looking for his first win in two years.
Visitor Adam Scott was hoping to find some form with his new short putter after playing decently well at the Presidents Cup. He had an up and down tournament, but still managed to finish T7. Scott will likely play a few more times before the end of the year in order to prepare for the ban on anchored putters in 2016.
The final player at T7 was money list leader Kyung-Tae Kim. Kim has won four times this season and has finished inside the top 10 an astonishing 11 times in 18 events, or 65% of tournaments he has played in this season. Kim looks like a lock to win the money list title, but he is playing for much more now. Entering this week, Kim was ranked 89th in the Official World Golf Rankings. Anyone inside the top 65 gets to play in all of the big tournaments.