Matsuyama tops U.S. Open qualifier in Japan

Hideki Matsuyama of Japan

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Hideki Matsuyama led all U.S. Open hopefuls at International Sectional Qualifying May 27 at Ohtone Country Club’s West Course in Ibaraki Prefecture, Japan. Matsuyama finished 36 holes at 8-under 132.

Matsuyama is a two-time Asia-Pacific Amateur who turned pro in April. This will be his first U.S. Open start, but he has twice played in the Masters courtesy of his Asia-Pacific Am victories. He was the low amateur at Augusta National in 2011.

Shortly after turning pro, Matsuyama won the Tsuruya Open on the Japan Golf Tour. It was his second JGT title, but first as a professional. In 2011, he claimed the Mitsui Sumitomo VISA Taiheiyo Masters as an amateur.

Jung-Gon Hwang of Korea was runner-up, four shots behind Matsuyama. Yui Ueda of Japan was another shot behind Hwang.

Three players tied at 138, but only two, Yoshinobu Tsukada and Hiroyuki Fujita, advanced. Msanori Kobayashi lost the playoff to become the first alternate.

Arnond “Bank” Vongvanij, a former University of Florida player, won a playoff for the second-alternate position.

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