Japan’s Hideki Matsuyama has already made the cut in two Masters. Now he’ll make his first U.S. Amateur appearance next week at Cherry Hills Country Club in Colorado.
Matsuyama, No. 2 in the R&A World Amateur Rankings, has already won on the Japan Tour and was runner-up on that circuit two weeks ago. He’s finished 27th and 54th the past two years at Augusta National, earning his invitations by winning consecutive Asian Amateurs.
This year’s U.S. Amateur is scheduled for Aug. 13-19. Cherry Hills Country Club in Cherry Hills Village, Colo., and CommonGround Golf Course in Aurora will host the event’s two rounds of stroke play. The 312-man field will then be cut to 64 players for match play. All matches will be held at Cherry Hills.
Cherry Hills was the site of Phil Mickelson’s victory in the 1990 U.S. Amateur. The course also was site of Arnold Palmer’s lone U.S. Open victory. He shot a final-round 65 to finish two shots ahead of amateur Jack Nicklaus. Nicklaus’ son, Gary, qualified for this year’s U.S. Amateur.
Nine of the top 10 players in the R&A World Amateur Rankings are in the field at Cherry Hills; The Netherlands’ Daan Huizing, No. 4 in the world, is the lone exception. Chris Williams, winner of last week’s Western Amateur, is No. 1 in the R&A’s rankings, followed by Matsuyama, Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas, Germany’s Marcel Schneider, Bobby Wyatt, Peter Williamson, Patrick Rodgers and NCAA champion Thomas Pieters of Belgium.
Williams is one of four members of the 2011 U.S. Walker Cup team in the field. Nathan Smith, Rodgers and Spieth also represented the United States last year at Royal Aberdeen.
Other notables in the field include U.S. Amateur Public Links champion T.J. Vogel; U.S. Junior champion Andy Shim and U.S. Open participants Beau Hossler, who briefly held the lead during the second round, and Andy Zhang, who at 14 years old became the youngest-ever U.S. Open participant. Four quarterfinalists from last year’s U.S. Amateur return this year: Jordan Russell, Max Buckley, Rodgers and Spieth.
Russell, who advanced to the semifinals of last year’s Amateur, lost to Williams in the final of last week’s Western Amateur. Spieth was the low amateur at this year’s U.S. Open (T-21). Last year’s U.S. Amateur champion Kelly Kraft and runner-up Patrick Cantlay both have turned professional.