Hideki Matsuyama’s victory at the Asian Amateur Championship over the 7,068-yard (6,463-metre), par-71 West Course at Kasumigaseki Country Club (Japan), propels the 18-year-old from Ehime, Japan 385 places to WAGRank 159. This win has ensured an invitation to Augusta National for the 2011 Masters Tournament, as well as a place in Open Championship International Final Qualifying (IFQ). Matsuyama signed for a four-under-par final round of 67 to finish five shots ahead of Australia’s Tarquin MacManus, who also earns an exemption into IFQ by virtue of his runner-up performance. This results in a move up the rankings by 65 places to WAGRank 54.
Matsuyama, whose caddie this week was a friend, class-mate and scratch-handicapper from Tohoku Fukushi University, emerged from a 118-man field, made up of competitors representing 27 different Asia Pacific Golf Confederation member nations, to claim the crown. 11 players from six nations finished tied-ninth or better. Four Japanese formed over one third of that number, including Yusuke Asaji, who finished alone in third place moving up 45 places to WAGRank 64, five strokes ahead of Korea’s Lee Kyung-hoon and Ben Campbell of New Zealand.
Despite a nervous opening tee-shot, Matsuyama calmly made his way round, making four birdies and not a single bogey to increase his three-shot overnight lead to a comfortable five.
“I’m very, very happy. I was under par for all four days and now I’m in the Masters, so that’s very exciting,” explained Matsuyama, who reached 15 under par with rounds of 68, 69, 65 – the lowest of the Championship – and 67. “I was extremely pleased to keep the bogeys off my card today; it’s harder to not make mistakes than to make birdies.”
Victory for Matsuyama, who becomes the first Japanese amateur to play in the Masters Tournament, seemed certain to be his after a birdie on the 380-yard, par-four 14th hole, courtesy of a remarkable second shot from deep in the woods, which finished eight feet from the hole.
Elsewhere in Georgia (USA) at the 2010 Brickyard Collegiate Golf Championship, Macon native Russell Henley scored a four-under 68 in Sunday’s final round to become the champion for the second-straight year as the senior finished the tournament with a three-day total of 206 (-10). This four shot victory from Augusta State’s Carter Newman on the Par 72 - 7175 yards moves Henley up one position in the Top Ten to WAGRank 7.
American Peter Uihlein, winner of the US Amateur title and fourth recipient of the Mark H McCormack Medal as the top-ranked golfer in the World Amateur Golf Ranking at the end of the amateur season, maintains his No. 1 position ahead of Walker Cup team-mate David Chung, the Western Amateur winner and runner-up to Uihlein for the US Title. Romain Wattel of France holds on to third place. Sliver Medal winner at The Open Championship 2010, Jin Jeong (KOR) and Italy’s Andrea Pavan remain in positions 4 and 5 respectively.
9 new players have entered the Rankings this week.