KAWAGOE CITY, JAPAN | The size of the field
for the burgeoning Asian Amateur, played last
week near Tokyo, was 118 players.
Now that 18-year-old Hideki Matsuyama is
the winner, it’s official: 117 players are Masters
green with envy.
By carding a calm and efficient final round of
4-under 67 for a 15-under, 72-hole total of 269,
Japan’s Matsuyama left everybody else in his
rearview mirror Sunday. Aussie Tarquin Mac-
Manus was a distant second at 10 under.
More important – much more important –
Matsuyama’s victory procured an invitation to
the 2011 Masters.
The final round tipping point came on the
par- 4 14th when Matsuyama’s drive left him in
the deep rough with tree trouble.
His recovery stopped eight feet from the hole
and he made the putt for birdie. After that, he
was never seriously threatened.
“I had made two birdies on the 14th over the
previous few days, so I was confident,” Mat-
suyama said. “My caddie and I picked out the
pathway and I decided to go for it. I saw Phil
Mickelson hit a great shot from the trees at
Augusta this year, which gave me goosebumps.
I cannot play a shot as good as that, but I was
pleased that mine was similar.”
And now Matsuyama will be in the field in
April when Mickelson shows up to defend his
“I’m very, very happy,” Matsuyama said. “I
was under par all four days in a row and now
I’m in The Masters, so that’s very exciting. I was
extremely pleased to keep the bogeys off my
card today. It’s harder to not make mistakes
than it is to make birdies.”
MacManus, who attends the University of
Arizona, lost any chance of catching Mat-
suyama when he three-putted from inside 15
feet on the par- 5 15th to fall five back.
But he did hold onto to edge Japan’s Yosuke
Asaji by a shot and grab an exemption, along
with Matsuyama, into the final qualifying stage
for next year’s Open Championship, which will
be played at Royal St. George’s in England.
Tied for fourth at the West Course at Kasum-
igaseki Country Club, five shots back of Asaji,
were South Korea’s Lee Kyung-hoon and New
Zealand’s Ben Campbell.
In retrospect, Matsuyama’s third round may
have been more important than his final 18.
Playing in what was described by the locals
as torrential rains, Matsuyama fashioned a
soggy but superb 6-under 65.
“It was difficult in the heavy rains,” he said.
“But fortunately I got off to a really good start.
In those conditions your body stiffens and your
grips get wet, so I was just trying to stay re-
laxed and keep my equipment dry.” RESULTS
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