The R&A - Working for Golf

Augusta Challenge for WAAP Winner Hashimoto

Mizuki Hashimoto will be hoping Japanese excellence at Augusta National continues when she makes her debut appearance in the Augusta National Women’s Amateur (ANWA). 

 

Hashimoto is bidding to become the third straight player from Japan to win over the Masters course, therefore hoping to emulate Tsubasa Kajitani and Hideki Matsuyama, respective winners of the Augusta National Women’s Amateur and the Masters Tournament in consecutive weeks a year ago. 

 

The Tohoku Fukushi University student has a good chance of following in their footsteps if she replicates the form that saw her win the Women’s Amateur Asia-Pacific (WAAP) Championship in November to earn her Augusta National tee time.

 

Close contest

 

Consistency proved key to Hashimoto’s win. She fashioned four consecutive four-under-par rounds of 68 at Abu Dhabi Golf Club for a 16-under 272 total to defeat Australia’s Kelsey Bennett and Thai twosome Kan Bunnabodee (66) and 54-hole leader Natthakritta Vongtaveelap by a shot. 

 

Hashimoto became the second straight Japanese winner of the WAAP after Yuka Yasuda won the 2019 tournament. The win was all the more special since it followed Keita Nakajima’s Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship victory the previous week.

 

Not only did the triumph earn Hashimoto an ANWA invitation, she also booked spots in this year’s AIG Women’s Open at Muirfield and the Amundi Evian Championship.

 

“I have always seen these tournaments on the television,” said Hashimoto. “To be able to play in them is like a dream come true for me. I am unable to say any words right now. I feel so happy to win this championship. I would like to say a big thank you to my teammates and everyone who supported me all week.”

 

Important eagle

 

Hashimoto began the final round three shots behind Vongtaveelap, but soon made her intentions known when she eagled the 3rd hole. 

 

“The eagle on the 3rd was a big surprise for me,” she added. “I kept fighting hard after that until I made the winning putt. I played really well.”

 

She’s played well in America previously too. Hashimoto has experience of winning in the United States after lifting the prestigious Junior Orange Bowl title in 2020 at the Biltmore Golf Club in Coral Gables, Florida. Rounds of 71, 67, 72 and 73 for a five-under total of 283 gave her a two-shot victory over France’s Lucie Malchirand.

 

Hashimoto, currently 28th on the World Amateur Golf Ranking®, is one of four Japanese players in the ANWA field along with 22nd ranked Hinano Muguruma, Ayaka Tezuka at 23rd, and world no. 34 Rin Yoshida.