Five Players to Watch at the 2019 Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship

With four of the top-11 players in the World Amateur Golf Ranking (WAGR) competing this week, the 11th edition of the Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship (AAC) is poised to be an exciting battle at Sheshan International Golf Club in Shanghai.

Here’s a look at five competitors primed to contend for the title.

Takumi Kanaya (Japan)

Age: 21
Previous AAC results: 2018 (Champion), 2016 (T12)

The defending champion is only the third player in AAC history to compete in the championship after becoming the world No. 1, joining Hideki Matsuyama and C.T. Pan.

Kanaya stepped into the spotlight when he finished second as an 18-year-old at the 2017 Japan Open and he hasn’t looked back since.

His assured, two-stroke AAC victory last year at Sentosa Golf Club in Singapore came after an impressive second-place finish in the individual standings of the World Amateur Team Championship.

The Japanese star will once again depend on his brilliant putting skills in order to join his mentor Matsuyama as the second two-time champion of the tournament.

Yuxin Lin (China)

WAGR: 115
Age: 18
Previous AAC results: 2018 (T9), 2017 (Champion), 2016 (T21)

Barely a month into his college life at the University of Southern California, Lin is returning home hoping to lead China to an unprecedented fourth title success in the Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship.

The stylish left-hander has already tasted success at the AAC, winning the 2017 championship at Royal Wellington Golf Club with an unforgettable birdie-eagle finish that gave him a three-shot victory over compatriot Andy Zhang.

Lin’s abilities are well known, and this week his confidence will be further boosted by the presence of friends and family on the golf course.

David Micheluzzi (Australia)

Age: 23
Previous AAC results: 2018 (T30)

The Australian has been one of the most consistent amateur players in the world for the past few years and is aiming for his first victory since January 2018 at the Master of the Amateurs.

In the period since his last win, Micheluzzi reached the semifinals of The Amateur Championship earlier this year and was a quarterfinalist in the event in 2018. He also led after the first round of the 2018 AAC after firing a six-under 64.

‘Micha’ is confident that he will reemerge as a champion soon and hopes to raise the AAC trophy on Sunday.

Chun An Yu (Chinese Taipei)

Age: 21
Previous AAC results: 2018 (T16), 2017 (T6), 2016 (6), 2015 (T4), 2014 (MC)

The Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship feels like unfinished business for the Arizona State University senior. Shanghai marks his sixth appearance in the championship and he has finished inside the top-six in three of his past four AAC starts.

Yu is in good form this year, having won the ASU Thunderbird Invitational and the Australian Master of the Amateurs. He has also qualified for consecutive U.S. Opens, appearing at Pebble Beach in 2019 and Shinnecock Hills in 2018.

Tanapat Pichaikool (Thailand)

WAGR: 66
Age: 19
Previous AAC results: 2018 (T30)

One of the most in-form players heading into this year’s Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship, the Mississippi State University senior recently won a professional event on the All Thailand Golf Tour (Singha Championship) with weekend rounds of 66 and 67. This came a week after his triumph at the TGA-Singha Junior Ranking event.

Pichaikool, who is playing in his second AAC, then flew back to the United States and finished tied for eighth at the prestigious Carmel Cup at Pebble Beach.