Keita Nakajima became the third Japanese player to win the Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship after defeating Hong Kong’s Taichi Kho on the second hole of a play-off at Dubai Creek Golf & Yacht Club.
Nakajima, the world’s top-ranked amateur, shot a three-under-par 68 in the final round to catch up with Kho, who fired a 64 in the third round followed by a 65 to finish on 14 under par.
The two players headed back to the 18th hole, which was parred in the first attempt. Kho then found the water with his second from the right fairway bunker playing it a second time. Nakajima hit a superb drive, followed by a second to 20 feet. He rolled that in to seal the victory with a birdie.
With his win, the 21-year-old Nakajima receives an invitation to the Masters Tournament in 2022, thus making his dream of playing a practice round at Augusta National with the reigning Masters champion Hideki Matsuyama come true, as well as an exemption into The 150th Open at St Andrews. He already had an exemption to the US Open after winning the Mark H. McCormack Medal, so will now be playing in three of the four Majors next season.
Nakajima said: “I am very proud of what I have achieved. To follow in the footsteps of Hideki-san and Takumi feels great. I am so excited that I will be playing three majors in 2022. I am very thankful to the tournament for giving us such great opportunities.”
Korea’s Wooyoung Cho matched Kho’s 65 to finish tied third alongside China’s Bo Jin at 12 under. Defending champion Yuxin Lin of China closed with an even-par 71 to finish tied seventh.