Yuxin Lin of China won the Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship at Sheshan GC and will play in next year’s Masters and The Open Championship.
Yuxin Lin wins the Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship
China’s Yuxin Lin won the Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship (AAC) on home soil at Sheshan GC in Shanghai, coming through a sudden-death playoff against defending champion Takumi Kanaya of Japan.
In the end the event came down to a champions playoff – The 2017 winner against the champ of last season.
Lin, who won the AAC at Royal Wellington in 2017, birdied the 18th hole twice in the playoff to see off Kanaya and become only the second player to win multiple AAC titles, joining Hideki Matsuyama.
The 18-year-old Chinese golfer has earned a place in the 149th Open Championship at Royal St George’s and an invite to The Masters Tournament next spring.
Lin found the water on the 18th hole during regulation play and was unable to save par.
Finishing on 10-under, it looked as though he might have lost his chance with both Kanaya and Yung-Hua Liu of Chinese Taipei still out on the course on 10-under, with the par-5 last to play.
Kanaya played three good shots to the 72nd hole and had a chance to post 11-under, but the 21-year-old World Amateur Number 1 missed from six feet and he joined Lin in the clubhouse on 10-under.
Liu found the home green in regulation, but backspin took the ball back to the front of the surface.
It was a slow, uphill putt from there and he left the ball four-feet short before agonisingly missing for par and falling back to nine-under and a tie for third with Tanapat Pichaikool of Thailand, who had closed with an excellent 65.
Thrown a lifeline, Lin headed back to the 18th tee with Kanaya to settle the fate of the 11th Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship in a playoff.
Lin had bogeyed the hole on Friday, double-bogeyed it on Saturday and bogeyed it again in round four.
He looked to be struggling again in extra holes when his tee shot flew left of the target and ended on a bank above a bunker.
Left with an awkward stance and terrible lie, he did well to hack out down the fairway.
Kanaya laid up to the right side before Lin played a spectacular third to within eight feet of the cup.
The Japanese player responded well but was roughly double the distance of Lin from the flag after his third.
Displaying exceptional concentration and determination, Kanaya holed his putt to pile the pressure on Lin.
But the University of South Carolina freshman was up to the task and he followed Kanaya in for birdie.
On the second time down the 18th in extra holes, Lin finally found a fairway.
As well as missing the short stuff on the 72nd hole, he’d also missed every fairway he aimed at over the final nine holes of regulation play.
Kanaya found the semi rough with his tee shot, from where he laid up.
Lin went for the green but missed the surface in the bunker to the left.
Kanaya’s third left him a long birdie putt, then Lin splashed out from the sand to two feet.
When Kanaya missed for a four, Lin was left to tap in and claim a second AAC title.
“This means a huge amount to me, particulary to win on home soil,” he said.
“I’m so excited to be able to go back to Augusta and to play in The Open Championship again. I hope I can do better than last time, I know I have learned from those experiences and I can’t wait to have another chance.”
Organised by the Asia Pacific Golf Confederation (APGC) in conjunction with The R&A and The Masters Tournament, as winner of this tournament Yuxin Lin 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 also receives an exemption into The Amateur Championship to be played at Royal Birkdale.
The runner-up Takumi Kanaya receives a place in The Open Qualifying Series with the opportunity to qualify for Royal St George’s.
Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship – Final Scores
1 Yuxin Lin (Chn) -10
2 Takumi Kanaya (Jap) -10
T3 Tanapat Pichaikool (Tha) -9
T3 Yung-Hua Liu (Tpe) -9
T5 Chun An Yu (Tpe) -8
T5 James Leow (Sin) -8
T5 Ren Yonezawa (Jap) -8
T8 Karl Vilips (Aus) -7
T8 Jun Min Lee (Kor) -7
T8 Yuto Katsuragawa (Jap) -7