Jeev Milkha Singh's streak of top-10 finishes came to an end at the Otaru County Golf Course with the Indian finishing tied 21st at the Sun Chlorella Classic in Hokkaido on Sunday.
The Indian star, riding on a streak of four straight top-10 finishes, succumbed to the crucifying closing holes to card a three-over 75 in the final round, a double bogey, bogey and a double bogey pushing him five-over for last three holes.
Hideto Tanihara (72) had two bogeys in his last three holes, on 16th and 17th, but still scraped through by one shot to win the title.
It was his fourth title on the Japan Tour and the second win of the year after the JCB Sendai Classic. Tanihara, tied second overnight, finished with five-under 283. Tanihara, winner of the 2004 Asia-Okinawa Open, also became the first player to win more than one title this year.
Jeev started with a string of 13 pars and when he birdied the 14th and 15th in a row. He was well on track for a good finish inside the top five but then came the heartbreak. He double bogeyed the 16th, bogeyed the 17th and double bogeyed the 18th to drop five shots in three holes and from three-under he dropped to two over.
At three-under, he would have finished tied seventh.
Over the four days, Jeev regularly courted trouble at the last three holes. The 16th alone cost him two doubles (on third and fourth days) and two bogeys, while he bogeyed the 17th three of the four days and doubled the 18th on final day.
That meant a total of 10 shots in the last three holes over four days and just one birdie in return. He had a total of three bogeys in the first 15 holes over four days.
"That last stretch was a killer. Long holes, lots of trouble and my iron play let me down," said Jeev.
There was a five-way tie for second at four-under 284 as players struggled to negotiate the last three holes, with the 523-yard long par-four 16th proving to be particularly tough.
Masaya Tomida (68) leader at midway stage made a valiant attempt to catch up with Tanihara, but his third round 76 cost him dearly.
Others in tie for second were Katsumasa Miyamoto (69), Hiroyuki Fujita (71), Prayad Marksaeng (72) and Tetsuji Hiratsuka (74).
SK Ho (68) and Jong Duck Kim (70) were tied for seventh at three-under 285, while Dong Hwan Lee (70) was ninth and YE Yang (71) tenth . Seven players were tied for 11th at level par for the week. Overall only 17 players went under par for four rounds on the most demanding course on the Japan Tour this year so far.