Japanese amateur aims for second consecutive Augusta win
Hideki Matsuyama watches his shot Saturday in the third round of the Masters at Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Georgia.
April 7th, 2012
06:54 PM ET

Japanese amateur aims for second consecutive Augusta win

Japanese amateur Hideki Matsuyama loves playing the Masters.

Last year, the college student won the Silver Cup, given to the lowest-scoring amateur at Augusta.

This year, Matsuyama shot an even par 72 on Saturday, leaving him at one over par for 54 holes and giving him a six-stroke lead over his nearest competitor among the three amateurs who made the 36-hole cut.

He’s also the only Japanese player left at Augusta.

Ryo Ishikawa, the biggest name in Japanese golf, missed the cut.

Asked after his round Saturday if he’s starting to become as well-known in his home country as Ishikawa, the 20-year-old deferred.

“There nothing I can say about that,” he said. “The people who can just decide such things are in the galleries.”

Those people decided with their feet Saturday as dozens of Japanese patrons and a large media contingent followed Matsuyama for 18 holes.

Kazuki Suzuki, of Yokohama, Japan, said he flew to Augusta just to watch Matsuyama.

Nobuko Tabata, a Japanese student living in Chicago, came to the Masters with her sisters and parents, who also flew in from Japan, to see Matsuyama.

“I hope he’s going to take best amateur two years in a row,” she said. “I’ll be back following him tomorrow.”

Akinori Yokosawa, a Japanese native now living in Atlanta, said Matsuyama deserves the following, though as yet he doesn’t match Ishikawa’s star power back home.

“Ryo is cute, but as a golfer I think (Matsuyama) is better,” he said.

Earlier in the week, Matsuyama said he hoped success at Augusta this year would mean something back home, too.

He attends school in the Sendai area of Japan, which was devastated by an earthquake and tsunami more than a year ago.

“What I would like to do is do my best and play well so that I can encourage them through my play,” he said.

Saturday afternoon, he seemed well on his way to both goals: a second Silver Cup and something for his fans back home to cheer about.

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Filed under: Golf • Sports
soundoff (6 Responses)
  1. jimbo

    This lad shows me a lot, unlike foul mouthed Tiger Woods and his tantrums. Goodbye Tiger, welcome Hideki.

    April 7, 2012 at 7:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • Elrod

      Now now, Tiger has always had Nike millions upon millions backing him so he doesn't have to be accountable. Best wishes to the next generation of hopefully humble players.

      April 8, 2012 at 2:31 am | Report abuse |
  2. BBCue

    Matsuyama represents his country very well, unlike some of our prima donnas. You could say he's a diamond in the rough if he'd ever miss his shots.

    April 7, 2012 at 8:03 pm | Report abuse |
  3. octopus

    Dear Americans,

    Please prosecute Bush for crimes against humanity and restore your good name in the world!

    April 8, 2012 at 3:00 am | Report abuse |
    • ArtInChicago

      For crimes against humanity, you may want to speak to the World Court.

      April 8, 2012 at 6:24 am | Report abuse |
  4. patw2100

    Why does Obama allow foreigners into our country to take away American jobs?

    April 8, 2012 at 8:49 am | Report abuse |