The 11th Asia Pacific Amateur Championship will be played this week at Sheshan Golf Club in China. The winner will earn a start at both The Masters and The Open.
Asia Pacific Amateur Championship Preview
The best amateur golfers in the Asia Pacific region tee it up at Sheshan Golf Club in Shanghai China this week to do battle for the prestigious Asia Pacific Amateur Championship.
In this 11th running of the event, co-founded by The Masters Tournament and The R&A, the participants are competing to earn a place in both the 2020 Masters and the 149th Open Championship at Royal St George’s.
A strong field has assembled at Sheshan GC.
Defending champion and current World Amateur Golf Ranking (WAGR) Number 2, Takumi Kanaya of Japan is the top ranked player in the field with other highly ranked competitors including World Number 4 David Micheluzzi and World Number 11 Blake Windred, both of Australia, and World Number 9 Chun An Yu of Chinese Taipei.
The home challenge will be led by the 19-year-old Lin Yuxin of Beijing, who is hoping to become only the second player after Japan’s Hideki Matsuyama to win multiple AAC titles.
The tournament has progressed hugely since it was first contested 10 years ago.
At that time, only a handful of players in the field were within the top-500 on the WAGR.
Going into this event, there are 12 players from the Asia Pacific region in the top-100.
Han Chang-won of Korea was the winner of the inaugural AAC in 2009, then in 2010, an 18-year-old Japanese player called Hideki Matsuyama took the title with a tremendous four-round-total of 15-under-par.
Matsuyama went on to defend his title the following year and then to become one of the very best golfers in the world.
14-year-old, Guan Tianlang of China won the fourth edition of the AAC in 2012, while Lee Chang-woo from South Korea claimed the title the next year in China.
Australian Antonio Murdaca won in 2014 at The Royal Melbourne Golf Club then, in 2015, Chinese No. 1-ranked amateur golfer Jin Cheng fired a course-record eight-under 62 en-route to winning the AAC at The Clearwater Bay Golf & Country Club in Hong Kong.
Australia’s Curtis Luck overturned a seven-stroke deficit to secure a one-shot victory over compatriot Brett Coletta at the eighth Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship held at Jack Nicklaus Golf Club in Korea.
In 2017, 17-year-old Yuxin Lin became the third Chinese AAC champion, closing with a birdie and an eagle in the final round to win by three shots at Royal Wellington Golf Club in New Zealand.
Last year Japan’s Takumi Kanaya fired a closing 65 to win the Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship and earn a place in both the 2019 Masters Tournament and the 148th Open Championship at Royal Portrush.
A key reason for the prestige of the AAC is the prizes that are on offer.
Organised by the Asia Pacific Golf Confederation (APGC) in conjunction with The R&A and The Masters Tournament, the winner of the tournament receives: An invitation to compete in the 2020 Masters Tournament plus direct entry into The 149th Open Championship at Royal St George’s in 2020. He will also receive an exemption into The Amateur Championship to be played at Royal Birkdale.
The runner(s)-up receive a place in The Open Qualifying Series with the opportunity to qualify for Royal St George’s.
The course at Sheshan GC in Shanghai will be well known to golf fans, having hosted the WGC HSBC Champions on 12 occasions.
It’s an event that has been won by former AAC champ Hideki Matsuyama, as well as Phil Mickelson, Justin Rose and Dustin Johnson.
Designed by Neil Haworth and Robin Nelson, Sheshan is a par 72, 7,041 yard layout that has been recognised as one of the finest tracks in Asia.
It’s a challenging course with punishing rough and plenty of water hazards to contend with.
The weather forecast for the week is set fair – 27 degrees and no rain.