Hideki Matsuyama of Japan has won the Asian Amateur Championship at Kasumigaseki Country Club. He’s also secured an invite to the 2011 Masters and a spot in International Final Qualifying for the Open Championship (IFQ.)
Matsuyama played a flawless final round of 67 to finish five shots clear of Tarquin MacManus from Australia. MacManus will also receive a place in IFQ.
The 18-year-old will be the first Japanese amateur ever to compete at Augusta and he was thrilled at the prospect.
“I’m very, very happy. To play in the Masters is an exciting thing,” he said. “I wasn’t thinking about it too much last night but I woke up early this morning so I must have been nervous. I first saw the Masters in 1997 when Tiger won. I would very much like to play well there.”
Matsuyama carried a three-shot lead into the final round and he got off to a steady start with five straight pars. The Tohoku Fukushi University student then made birdies at the 6th and 7th, though they were matched by MacManus so the gap at the top of the leaderboard remained three. MacManus then holed an excellent putt on the 8th to record a third straight birdie and reduce the deficit to two.
MacManus could not make further inroads into Matsuyama’s lead however and the home player stretched further ahead with birdies at the 12th and 14th. When MacManus three-putted from inside 10 feet at the 15th and made a bogey his race was effectively run. The Australian can console himself with the fact he’ll play in either the Asian or Australasian leg of IFQ.
Yosuke Asaji of Japan made a brave effort to challenge MacManus for that second place. He fired three birdies on the back nine and trailed the Australian by just one shot on the final tee.
Asaji had a putt on the 72nd green to tie MacManus. Had he made it both would have been given places in IFQ but it refused to drop and the Japanese player had to be content with third place.
Kyung-hoon Lee of Korea and New Zealand’s Ben Campbell were tied for fourth place and Kieran Pratt of Australia was alone in sixth.
1 Hideki Matsuyama (Jap) 68 69 65 67 269
2 Tarquin MacManus (Aus) 71 67 67 69 274
3 Yosuke Asaji (Jap) 67 69 72 67 275
T4 Kyung-hoon Lee (Kor) 70 67 72 71 280
T4 Ben Campbell (NZ) 71 69 72 68 280
6 Kieran Pratt (Aus) 70 68 72 71 281
T7 Tze Huang Choo (Sin) 69 73 70 70 282
T7 Il-hwan Park (Kor) 68 71 75 68 282