Rising Japanese Star Sees Nine-Shot Lead More Than Halved During Closing Stages Of Maiden DP World Tour Victory

Keita Nakajima was leading by nine shots at one point on Sunday before cruising to a four-stroke victory which earned his first DP World Tour win in just his 11th start

Keita Nakajima holds up his trophy and makes a number one sign with his other hand after the 2024 Indian Open
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Keita Nakajima has only made 11 starts on the DP World Tour - yet, the rising Japanese star has already clinched his first victory and is on the cusp of teeing it up in at least a couple of the Majors this year as a result.

Nakajima - who began the week as World No.111 - was well on his way to a maiden success on the European Tour courtesy of a nine-stroke advantage as he made the turn at the Indian Open on Sunday.

But with very little pressure being applied to him by either the golf course or the chasing pack, the 23-year-old was able to play ultra-conservative golf and cruise to the finishing post while using up a handful of insurance strokes.

He eventually won by four on -17 as home favourite Veer Ahlawat, Swede Sebastian Söderberg and American Johannes Veerman tucked in behind on 13-under.

Nakajima's success is expected to catapult him well inside the world's top-100, and further strong results could set him up for invites into three of the four remaining Majors - Masters excluded.

The wire-to-wire winner was 14-under heading into the weekend at DLF Golf & Country Club, Gurgram - on the south-west edge of New Delhi - before extending his advantage courtesy of a four-under Saturday.

Ultimately, Nakajima's closing 73 appears to have been something of an anomaly as his sparkling play over the first three days allowed him to follow Rikuya Hoshino, Ryo Hisatsune, Hideki Matsuyama, and Isao Aoki into the record books as only the fifth Japanese winner in DP World Tour history.

Speaking immediately after his final putt dropped, Nakajima said: "It feels amazing. I feel like this is the first win of a new professional career. I was a little nervous and I had a tough back nine, but I hit some great shots."

Nakajima - who won the 2023 Japan Golf Tour Organisation Order of Merit thanks to three victories last season - went on to discuss his career aspirations after sealing a fifth professional title overall.

He said: "This is my first year playing on the DP World Tour and I'm very proud to have won on the DP World Tour and very honoured to be playing here. I want to try and finish in the top ten on this tour and then go to the PGA TOUR in 2025."

Italian, Matteo Manassero finished at 12-under alongside the French pair of Jeong weon Ko and Romain Langasque, plus Malaysian, Gavin Green. That group ended one shot clear of Dane, Jeff Winther and two ahead of German, Yannik Paul.

The DP World will now take a brief hiatus for The Masters and is set to return with the Korea Championship (April 18-21).

Jonny Leighfield
Staff Writer

Jonny Leighfield is our Staff News Writer who joined Golf Monthly just in time for the 2023 Solheim Cup and Ryder Cup. He graduated from the University of Brighton with a degree in Sport Journalism in 2017 and spent almost five years as the sole sports reporter at his local newspaper. An improving golfer who still classes himself as ‘one of the worst players on the Golf Monthly team’, Jonny enjoys playing as much as he can and is hoping to reach his Handicap goal of 18 at some stage. He attended both the 150th and 151st Opens and is keen to make it an annual pilgrimage.