Japanese teen wins Asian Amateur

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Hideki Matsuyama earned an invitation to the 2011 Masters Tournament with his victory today at the Asian Amateur Championship.

The 18-year-old from Ehime, Japan, shot a final-round 67 to finish five shots ahead of Australia's Tarquin MacManus.

Both players earn exemptions into the British Open's international final qualiyfing field.

Matsuyama emerged from a 118-man field, made up of competitors representing 27 different Asia Pacific Golf Confederation member nations, to claim the crown. Japan's Yosuke Asaji finished alone in third place, five strokes ahead of Korea's Lee Kyung-hoon and Ben Campbell of New Zealand.

Matsuyama made four birdies against no bogeys on the 7,068-yard West Course at Kasumigaseki Country Club.

"I'm very, very happy. I was under par for all four days and now I'm in the Masters, so that's very exciting," said Matsuyama, who reached 15 under par with rounds of 68, 69, 65 and 67. "I was extremely pleased to keep the bogeys off my card today; it's harder to not make mistakes than to make birdies."  

Matsuyama will become the first Japanese amateur to play in the Masters, and he credited an improbable birdie on the 380-yard, par-four 14th hole after being deep in the woods. The shot finished eight feet from the hole.

 "I had made two birdies on the 14th over the previous few days, so I was confident. My caddie and I picked out the pathway and I decided to go for it," he said. "I saw Phil Mickelson hit a great shot from in the trees at Augusta this year which gave me goose bumps. I cannot play a shot as good as that, but I was pleased that mine was similar."

The 2011 Asian Amateur Championship will be played on The Singapore Island Country Club's New Course.

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