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Golf Australia Express : Issue 7
JAPAN’S FIRST PGA Tour winner, the lovable Isao Aoki, began his golf career caddying as a schoolboy at the Abiko Golf Club. Turning pro at 22, by career’s end he had amassed 51 wins on the Japanese Tour, topping the money list five times. He also won the prestigious World Match Play Championship in England in 1978. Between 1980 and 1987, Aoki ranked in the world’s Top 10. Aoki is best-known for his exciting 1983 Hawaiian Open win, where he holed a wedge on the final hole to beat Jack Renner by a stroke. Talk about clutch. Aoki was also consistently thereabouts in majors, with five Top 10 finishes including a runner-up at the 1980 US Open behind Jack Nicklaus. As a senior, Aoki played mainly on the Champions Tour, winning nine times between 1992 and 2003. At the Japan Senior Open in 2007, Aoki achieved that rare old feat of shooting your age; a tremendous 65. He was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2004, the second Japanese golfer behind Higuchi. LIST THE PIONEER: MAN Isao Aoki (born 1942)