Hideki Matsuyama Medalist at Japan Sectional
Hideki Matsuyama, of Japan, posted 8-under 132 to earn medalist honors and one of five available qualifying spots into the 2013 U.S. Open at an international sectional qualifier held on May 27 at Ohtone Country Club’s West Course in Ibaraki Prefecture, Japan.
Matsuyama, who turned professional in April after a stellar amateur career that included back-to-back victories at the Asia-Pacific Amateur in 2010 and 2011, shot rounds of 67-65 on the par-70 layout to edge Jung-Gon Hwang (68-68), of Korea, by four strokes.
Yui Ueda, of Japan, shot 65-72 to finish in third at 137, while Yoshinobu Tsukada (72-66), of Japan, and Hiroyuki Fujita (68-70), of Japan, garnered the final two qualifying spots in a playoff.
Masanori Kobayashi (69-69), of Japan, earned first-alternate status after the playoff, and former University of Florida standout Arnong Vongvanij (69-70), of Thailand, edged two others in a playoff for the second alternate spot.
While this will be the 21-year-old Matsuyama’s first U.S. Open start, he did earn a pair of invitations to the Masters due to his Asia-Pacific Amateur victories, earning low-amateur honors in 2011 and being edged for low amateur in 2012 by American Patrick Cantlay. He also ascended to the top spot in the World Amateur Golf Ranking in August of 2012.
Shortly after turning pro, Matsuyama won the Tsuruya Open on the Japan Golf Tour. It was his second JGT title, but first as a professional. In 2011, he claimed the Mitsui Sumitomo VISA Taiheiyo Masters as an amateur.