Japanese amateur Matsuyama earns spot in Masters at Asian Amateur

By
PA Sport and Associated Press

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Hideki Matsuyama closed with a 4-under 67 to win the Asian Amateur on Sunday and earn a spot in the Masters as the first Japanese amateur at Augusta National.

Matsuyama played bogey-free at Kasumigaseki Country Club and broke par in all four rounds for a five-shot victory over Tarquin MacManus of Australia.

Holding a three-stroke overnight lead, Matsuyama’s 67 at Kasumigaseki Country Club was enough for him to book his ticket to Augusta National next year as well as a place in international final qualifying for the 2011 British Open at Royal St. George's.

"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," said Matsuyama. "I was extremely pleased to keep the bogeys off my card today; it's harder to not make mistakes than to make birdies."

The highlight of Matsuyama's final round was a birdie at the 14th hole, where he hit his second shot from deep in the trees to eight feet from the pin.

"I had made two birdies on the 14th over the previous few days, so I was confident," he added.

"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,” he explained. “I cannot play a shot as good as that, but I was pleased that mine was similar."

Macmanus finished second on 10 under par after carding a 69, which also earned the Australian a British Open qualifying spot.

"I played well out there, gave it everything I had and just got beaten. He played some amazing golf and I just couldn't quite match it," said the 21-year-old Macmanus, who is a senior at the University of Arizona.