Campbell leads Asian Am; Matsuyama 1 back
Hideki Matsuyama shot a 65 Saturday that could earn him a return trip to the Masters. His sterling round at Singapore Island Country Club pulled him within one shot of Ben Campbell’s lead with one round remaining at the Asian Amateur.
The Asian Amateur champion earns a Masters invitation, while the top two finishers are exempt into International Final Qualifying for the 2012 Open Championship. Matsuyama, the 2010 Asian Amateur champion, tied for 27th at this year’s Masters to earn low-amateur honors.
Matsuyama, the world’s No. 4 amateur, was bogey-free Saturday at Singapore Island Country Club to get to 13-under 203. Campbell shot 69 Saturday, including a birdie at the final hole. He had a three-shot lead when the rain-delayed second round was completed Saturday morning. Campbell, a 20-year-old from New Zealand, is coming off a 40th-place finish at last week’s Asia-Pacific Panasonic Open on the Japan Tour.
“He is just another player in the tournament,” Campbell said about Matsuyama. “I just want to keep going out there and do what I’ve been doing for the last couple of days. We will see how it all ends up tomorrow.”
Matsuyama and Campbell, who had foot surgery seven weeks ago, are several shots ahead of the field. Australia’s Cameron Smith (69) is in third place at 10 under par.
Campbell had six birdies Saturday, finishing with birdies on Nos. 16 and 18, Singapore Island Country Club’s two back-nine par-5s. Campbell is a combined 7 under on Nos. 16-18 during the tournament’s first three rounds.
He was bogey free for the tournament’s first 36 holes, but made bogey on the first hole Saturday. He also double-bogeyed the par-4 12th when he hit his approach shot into water.
Matsuyama birdied four of his final six holes Saturday, and missed an 8-footer for birdie on the final hole.
“I think I was lucky. I don’t think I played as well as my first round,” he said, referring to his 67 Thursday. “In fact I don’t think I played as well as I’d liked to today. I am hoping to manage my play better for Sunday.”
Northwestern senior Eric Chun, the 2009 Asian Amateur runner-up, is in 11th at 4 under par. Former Washington player Tze Huang Choo also is in 11th. He’s the leading player from Singapore, the host country. UCLA’s Alex Shi Yup Kim is in 23rd at 1 under.