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Japanese Teen Wins Asian Amateur & Spot in Masters
Hideki Matsuyama closed with a 4-under 67 to win the Asian Amateur Championship. In beating Australia's Tarquin MacManus by five shots, Matsuyama, who carded rounds of 68-69-65-67 on the 7,068-yard, par-71 West Course at Kasumigaseki Country Club, earned a spot in the 2011 Masters and a place in Open Championship International Final Qualifying (IFQ).
The 18-year-old from Ehime, Japan, emerged to claim the crown from a 118-man field with players representing 27 different Asia Pacific Golf Confederation member nations and will become the first Japanese amateur to play in the Masters.
In his final round Matsuyama had four birdies to extend his three-shot overnight lead to 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," he said. "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 was assured after a remarkable birdie on the 380-yard, par-4 14th, where he made a tough second shot from deep in the woods to 8 feet and then sank the putt. "I had made two birdies on the 14th over the previous few days, so I was confident," he 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 in the trees at Augusta this year which gave me goose bumps. I cannot play a shot as good as that, but I was pleased that mine was similar."
Runner-up MacManus, from Queensland, Australia, closed with a 2-under-par 69 in the final round. "I played well out there, gave it everything I had and just got beaten," said the 21-year-old, a senior at the University of Arizona. "He played some amazing golf and I just couldn't quite match it.
"I thought I might have a bit of a chance when I birdied those three holes in a row, but from there it just went a bit flat. Even on the 15th - I had a short birdie-putt there - I was thinking: 'If I birdie every hole from now, I've got a chance,' but I put on a bit of a putting display [he made bogey] and any chance was gone. But overall I'm pleased. I've never played in IFQ before, so it's pretty exciting, and I'd obviously love to play in The Open."
The 2011 Asian Amateur Championship will be played at Singapore Island Country Club's New Course from September 29-October 2. For full results of the 2010 event, visit www.AsianAmateurChampionship.com.