Hero Indian Open: Keita Nakajima goes wire-to-wire for his first DP World Tour title
02 Apr 2024
by Amit Pandey of

see also: Keita Nakajima Rankings

Kieta Nakajima (DP World Tour Photo)
Kieta Nakajima (DP World Tour Photo)

23-year-old Keita Nakajima, a former World No.1 amateur golfer from Japan, carded rounds of 65-65-68-73 to register a four-shot win to win his first DP World Tour (formerly known as the European Tour) title at Hero Indian Open, played out at DLF Golf and Country Club in Gurgaon, India.

Nakajima kicked off the tournament with an impressive 7-under 65, matching the lead alongside Joost Luiten of the Netherlands and Matteo Manassero of Italy.

He added another remarkable 7-under 65 in the following round, securing a two-shot lead as he reached 14-under par heading into the weekend. Meanwhile, Romain Langasque posted back-to-back rounds of 6-under 66, placing him at 12-under par.

Nakajima continued his impressive play on the third day and posted a 4-under 68 to take a four-shot lead heading into the final round. Gavin Green of Malaysia and Langasque were T2 at 14-under. In the final round, by the sixth hole, Nakajima had surged to 21-under par, leading the field by eight strokes.

He encountered trouble with a double bogey on No. 14, a hole he had bogeyed in the preceding three days. Despite further setbacks on the Par-3 No. 16, the Par-4 No. 17, and the Par-5 No. 18, Nakajima clinched the title with a four-stroke margin.

This marks Nakajima’s fifth title, after four on the Japanese Tour, which includes one as an amateur, where he topped the 2023 Order of Merit to earn his DP World Tour card. Nakajima's win in his 11th tour start places him among the elite Japanese golfers to win on the DP World Tour, alongside Isao Aoki, Hideki Matsuyama, Ryo Hisatsune, and Rikuya Hoshino.

He also joins the ranks of Hidezumi Shirakata (1996), Junichi Takahashi (1983), and Kenji Hoshoishi (1967, 1968) as the fourth Japanese player to clinch the Hero Indian Open title.

Nakajima won the Faldo Series Asia Japan Championship in 2016, followed by the Kanto Amateur Championship in 2017.

In 2018, he secured the Australian Amateur title and subsequently earned an Asian Games Gold Medal for Japan. Remaining an amateur, Nakajima competed in multiple Japan Golf Tour pro events, securing a runner-up finish at the Token Homemate Cup in April 2021 and a victory at the Panasonic Open in September 2021.

He swiftly followed this with a win at the Japan Amateur Championship and added the Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship to his list of achievements at the Dubai Creek Golf and Yacht Club. This victory qualified him to compete in the Masters Tournament in 2022.

Nakajima proceeded to set a record with 87 weeks atop the World Amateur Golf Ranking between 2020 and 2022, surpassing the previous record of 60 held by Jon Rahm. Additionally, he made further history by becoming the first men’s player to win the Mark H. McCormack medal twice as the world’s top men’s amateur golfer in 2021 and 2022.

In 2022, Nakajima made his professional debut at the Zozo Championship. In 2023, he experienced a breakthrough season by securing three victories within six months on the Japan Golf Tour. This impressive feat propelled him to the top of the tour’s Money List while also earning him Most Valuable Player and Rookie of the Year honors.

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