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Lin takes down Kanaya in playoff to win another Asia-Pacific Am
Yuxin Lin (AAC photo)
Yuxin Lin (AAC photo)

In the end, experience mattered. The final minutes of the Asia-Pacific Amateur came down to two past champions. China’s Yuxin Lin, winner in 2017, and Japan’s Takumi Kanaya, the defending champion, went two extra holes at Sheshan International Golf Club. Lin emerged as only the second two-time winner in the history of the event.

It was a fitting performance considering that Lin had the backing of the home crowd in Shanghai.

Lin had the opportunity to win outright but for a stumble at the final hole. He was 11 under standing on the 18th tee, but hit his second shot from the fairway bunker into the water and made a bogey on the final hole of regulation.

The duo both finished at 10 under par and entered the first-ever playoff in the championship’s history. Both earned impressive birdies at the first extra hole, No. 18. Lin muscled his ball out of thick rough with almost no stance, while Kanaya sank a 30-foot putt.

After they returned to No. 18 for the second extra hole, it was all over when Lin hit a superb third shot from the greenside bunker to three feet and made the putt, while Kanaya missed his from a longer range.

Lin earned an invitation the 2020 Masters Tournament and the Open Championship at Royal St George’s in 2020. After shifting his home base to Los Angeles last month where he is now a freshman at the University of Southern California, it was a poignant moment for the 18-year-old Chinese star, who had his father on the bag this week.

“It definitely means a lot to me, especially this week, winning at home is certainly huge for me and for China golf, as well. I’m just really honored to be alongside Hideki as a two-time winner,” said Lin, who turns 19 in two weeks.

It wasn’t lost on Lin that he had gone head-to-head with the top-ranked amateur in the world (Kanaya occupies the top spot in the World Amateur Golf Ranking) and come out on top.

“It really matters a lot playing against the best amateur in the world right now, and especially to be able to get that win is definitely huge. Obviously, Takumi is a great player. It gives me a lot of confidence to be able to compete with the No. 1 player in the world in extra holes.”

The performance of the day went to Thailand’s Tanapat Pichaikool, a senior at Mississippi State. He eagled the par-5 14th and the 18th for the best round of the day – a seven-under-par 65 – and climbed into a tie for third at 9 under.

“I just started the day believing that I wasn’t out of the tournament and I gave it a good run,” Pichaikool said. “Slightly disappointed with my overall result after the first three days, but I just can’t complain about the way I finished.”

Taiwan’s Yung-Hua Liu finished third alongside Pichaikool while three men tied for fifth another shot back: James Leow, Japan’s Ren Yonezawa and Taiwan’s Chun An Yu, who will soon return to complete his senior year at Arizona State.

Australian Blake Windred, who made noise with his record 9-under 61 in the opening round, started the day with a share of the lead but slid down the leaderboard to 13th after a closing 76.

Information from the Asia-Pacific Amateur used in this report

Results: Asia-Pacific Amateur
1ChinaYuxin LinChina150068-71-71-68=278
2JapanTakumi KanayaJapan100072-69-68-69=278
T3ThailandPeng PichaikoolThailand70071-73-70-65=279
T3Chinese TaipeiYung-Hua LiuChinese Taipei70068-71-69-71=279
T5Chinese TaipeiChun An YuChinese Taipei70073-69-70-68=280

View full results for Asia-Pacific Amateur

ABOUT THE Asia-Pacific Amateur

The Asian-Pacific Amateur (formerly known as the Asian Amateur) is the first of a series of worldwide championships put together by a between the Asia Pacific Golf Confederation (APGC), the Masters Tournament and The R&A. The event offers the winner an invitation to the Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club. The champion and runner(s)-up earn spots in The Open Qualifying Series for The Open. The event has historically moved throughout the region and has now been held in China, Japan, Singapore, Thailand, Australia and Hong Kong, Korea, and New Zealand.

A field, topping out at 120 players, is selected by the following criteria.

The top two ranked amateur players from each of the APGC member countries plus the four top ranked players from the host country. If there is not a sufficient number of players ranked from that member country, the member country may nominate a player(s) from their country, to be approved by the APGC, to fulfill the two positions eligible from that country.

The remainder of the field will be filled taking the next highest ranked players of APGC member countries, not otherwise qualified. The maximum number of eligible players from any APGC member country (with the exception of the host country) is six. Additional players may be offered at the event's discretion.

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