15-Year-Old Matsuyama makes history as youngest Japan Amateur Champion
28 Jun 2024
by Amit Pandey of AmateurGolf.com

see also: View results for Japan Amateur, Hirono Golf Club, Mao Matsuyama Rankings

Mao Matsuyama (Japan Golf Association photo)
Mao Matsuyama (Japan Golf Association photo)

Mao Matsuyama, a high school student, achieved a historic victory at the Japan Amateur Championship, becoming the youngest winner in the tournament's history at 15 years and 344 days. Matsuyama clinched the title with a par in a dramatic two-hole playoff against 21-year-old Kinki University student Masayuki Yamashita at Hirono Golf Club in Miki, Hyogo Prefecture.

The competition was fierce, as both players ended the regulation 54 holes tied at 7-under par. The final round was called off due to severe weather conditions, necessitating a sudden-death playoff to determine the champion.

Matsuyama carded rounds of 68-67-68 and Yamashita 67-66-70 to match their total scores at 7-under, setting the stage for the playoff.

Matsuyama's victory broke the previous record held by Takumi Kanaya, who won the championship at 17 years and 51 days in 2015. Kanaya, now a professional golfer with six JGTO Tour wins, set a high bar, but Matsuyama's achievement has set a new standard.

His path to victory in the tournament was marked by a dramatic comeback. Trailing by two strokes after the 53rd hole, Matsuyama delivered an impressive 300-yard drive on the 54th hole, a 456-yard par-4, and signed for a birdie, while Yamashita struggled and posted a bogey, resulting in the tie that led to the play-off. And he took care of the rest the next afternoon.

The win capped an incredible two weeks for Matsuyama. The previous week, he won the individual title at the Toyota Junior Golf World Cup against tough international competitors, shooting rounds of 67-64-68 to finish 14-under. His efforts also helped Japan secure third place at 13-under in the team category.

Matsuyama, a newcomer to the competitive golf scene, has quickly shown promise by earning world-ranking points in his last two events. With Japan's rich golfing history, it will be exciting to follow the young Matsuyama's journey.

Results: Japan Amateur
1JapanMao MatsuyamaJapan70068-67-68=203
2JapanMasayuki YamashitaJapan50067-66-70=203
3JapanSeiji KokaiwadoJapan40069-67-68=204
4JapanShu FukuzumiJapan40067-68-70=205
5JapanKeigo TakeharaJapan40071-68-67=206

View full results for Japan Amateur

ABOUT THE Japan Amateur

National championship for Japanese amateurs. 36 holes of stroke play qualifying to determine 32 players for match play.

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