World No. 1 Keita Nakajima wins Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship

Keita Nakajima of Japan lifts the AAC trophy after winning on the second playoff hole during round 4 of the 2021 Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship being played on the Dubai Creek Golf and Yacht Club, in Dubai, United Arab Emirates on Saturday, November 6, 2021. Photograph by AAC

Date                3-6 November 2021
Venue            Dubai Creek Golf & Yacht Club
Par                  71
Length           6,986 yards
Designers     Karl Litten/Thomas Bjorn
Opened          1993

Keita Nakajima became the third player from Japan to win the Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship (AAC), defeating Hong Kong’s Taichi Kho on the second hole of a thrilling playoff on Saturday at Dubai Creek Golf & Yacht Club.

The No. 1 player in the World Amateur Golf Ranking ® (WAGR®) shot a three-under-par 68 in the final round to catch up with Kho, who fired a 64 in the third round followed by a 65 to finish on 14 under par.

The two players headed back to the 18th hole, which was parred in the first attempt. Kho then found the water with his second from the right fairway bunker playing it a second time. Nakajima hit a superb drive, followed by a second to 20 feet. He rolled that in to seal the victory with a birdie.

It was the second consecutive playoff in AAC history, following the two extra holes played by Yuxin Lin and Takumi Kanaya in the 2019 championship in Shanghai.

With his win, the 21-year-old Nakajima receives an invitation to the Masters Tournament in 2022, thus making his dream of playing a practice round at Augusta National Golf Club with the reigning Masters champion Hideki Matsuyama come true, as well as an exemption into The 150th Open at St Andrews.

“I am very proud of what I have achieved. To follow in the footsteps of Hideki-san and Takumi feels great. I am so excited that I will be playing three majors in 2022 (he is also exempt for the U.S. Open as part of winning the Mark H. McCormack Medal as the men’s World No. 1 in 2021 WAGR ®). I am very thankful to the tournament for giving us such great opportunities,” said Nakajima, who finished joint runner-up behind Kanaya in the 2018 edition in Singapore.