Matsuyama wins 2011 Asian Amateur Championship

Hideki Matsuyama has won the third Asian Amateur Championship with a superb final round 67 at The Singapore Island Country Club.

The 19-year-old defending champion, who won the title in his native Japan last year, hit five birdies in a bogey-free round to finish 18-under par and one shot clear of South Korea’s Lee Soo-min.

Victory means a return to the Masters Tournament in April for Matsuyama, where he made history early this year by becoming the first Asian golfer to win the Silver Cup for low amateur.

He was never behind after the first hole but faced competition from Lee Soo-min who signed for the lowest score of the week after a birdie on the 18th hole secured a round of 64.

Overnight leader Ben Campbell also stayed in touch after recovering from a difficult start to shoot 70 and finish in third place at 16-under thanks to late birdies on holes 16 and 17.

However, Matsuyama continued to hit fairways and greens and secured back-to-back wins with a tap-in par on the 605-yard 18th.

Admitting to feeling some nerves at the start of the back nine, he said: “To be honest my feet started shaking, I was really nervous but I was happy that I was able to play my game even under that tremendous pressure. If you look at today and yesterday, I didn’t shoot any bogeys so that was very encouraging for me.”

His final total of 270 consisted of rounds of 67-71-65-67 over The SICC’s New Course and sets the record for the lowest 72-hole score in Asian Amateur Championship history. It means that he has recorded a sub-par score in every round he has played in the competition.

The Tohoku Fukushi University Student continued his great form from yesterday with birdies on holes 1, 8, 9, 12 and 16. A rare missed green on the 15th provided hope for his opponents but a deft chip making full use of the green saw him make a comfortable par and stay one-shot ahead of the field before going a further shot up at the next hole.

Matsuyama – who finished T-27 at last year’s Masters to record the third best finish ever by an international amateur - admitted to feeling added pressure coming into the tournament as defending champion but that the thought of a return to Augusta National kept him motivated.

He added: “At last year’s Asian Amateur Championship, I was able to enjoy the tournament because it was my first time and I did not have a lot of pressure. But this time, since I knew that I had to win to play Augusta again, it was extra pressure for me and it is something I’ve never been through before.

“I think it was because I wanted so badly to go back to play Augusta again. That is why the pressure w