Shugo Imahira of Japan has accepted a special invitation to compete in this year's Masters. By Lewis Blain.

Shugo Imahira Accepts Masters Special Invitation

The 2018 Japan Golf Tour’s Order of Merit winner, Shugo Imahira, has accepted an invitation to play in the 2019 Masters.

It will be the first time playing at Augusta National for the 26-year-old after missing cuts in all three of his last Major starts at the 2016 Open Championship, 2017 US Open and the 2018 USPGA Championship.

In 2018, he picked up 14 top-10 finishes as well as a second career win at the Bridgestone Open to move 53rd in the Official World Golf Ranking.

Fred Ridley, Chairman of Augusta National Golf Club and the Masters Tournament, said: “Bobby Jones and Clifford Roberts established the Masters as a global sporting event, so throughout our history special invitations for deserving international players have always been carefully considered.”

This will be the second consecutive year that Augusta National has given out a special invitation with India’s Shubhankar Sharma receiving an invite for 2018.

“We are pleased to continue this tradition by welcoming Shugo Imahira to our field this year based on his impressive record during the past 12 months. We look forward to hosting him and all of our Masters competitors in April,” added Ridley.

Shugo Imahira during the first round of the Indonesian Masters.
(Photo by Arep Kulal/Asian Tour/Asian Tour via Getty Images)

The 2019 Masters field is currently at 80 players, for those that are yet to qualify only two options remain – win a full-points PGA Tour event, like Ian Poulter did at the Houston Open last year, or make the top 50 in world rankings before the week of the Major.

Imahira is in the field for the Sony Open this week, his second appearance here on the PGA Tour. He made the cut and finished in a tie for 54th last year.

The 26-year-old ended the year with a T12 at the Indonesian Masters which contained the likes of world number one Justin Rose and Henrik Stenson.

In total, he has won four times as a pro.

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