Japan's Kanaya wins Asia-Pacific Amateur, spot in Masters

Takumi Kanaya of Japan won the 2018 Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship at Sentosa Golf Club in Singapore. [AAC 2018]

SINGAPORE — Japan’s Takumi Kanaya followed in the footsteps of two-time winner Hideki Matsuyama when he won the 10th Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship on Sunday.

Kanaya, 20, shot 5-under-par 65 to finish at 13-under-par 267, two shots ahead of India’s Rayhan Thomas and Keita Nakajima.

With the win, Kanaya earned an invitation to the 2019 Masters Tournament and a spot in The 148th Open at Royal Portrush.  As runners-up, both Thomas and Nakajima will get the chance to play in The Open Qualifying Series.

“This is simply like a dream. I have been dreaming of going to the Masters ever since I was a kid,” said Kanaya, who received a congratulatory call from Matsuyama moments after winning the championship.

“I never expected to play the Masters and The Open so early in my career so this is just huge," Kanaya said. "“I played well throughout the day but I think the key for me was how I kept my calm and composure during the round.”

There was a one-hour suspension of play because of inclement weather, but Kanaya returned from the break and made three consecutive birdies beginning at the 14th hole.

Lin Yuxin of China was trying to join Matsuyama as the only back-to-back winner of the event, but Lin shot 75 in the final round and slipped into a tie for ninth.