历届冠军各领风骚

松山英树挥杆的特征是其缓慢而精准的击球,这和他在世界职业高尔夫球坛迅速冒起形成起强烈的对比。

松山英树在四月成为职业球手后,先后以前十名完成美国公开赛和英国公开赛,又两度在日本高尔夫球巡回赛的分站中胜出(松山英树像石川辽一样,以业余球手的身份在日本高尔夫球巡回赛的分站胜出),这样的佳绩让他迅速地跻身世界高尔夫球排行榜的前五十位。根据八月一日公布的世界高尔夫球排行榜中,21岁的松出英树排名第33 位,轻易地成为亚洲排名第一的高尔夫球手,几乎肯定可以成为今年总统杯的国际队成员。

上述都是很优秀的成绩,但以并非松山英树首次在国际舞台上发挥出色的表现。他早在业余球员的日子里就已两度亮相美国大师赛,并晋身赛事的最后两轮,在2011年更以第27名完成赛事,夺得 low-amateur honors的殊荣。松山英树能够两次参加美国大师赛,是因为他分别在2010年和2011年,第二及第三届的亚太业余锦标赛中夺冠。这项赛事是由亚太高尔夫联盟、美国大师赛和皇家古典高尔夫球俱乐部共同创造和发展。

亚太业余锦标赛在2009年创办,曾被怀疑这新赛事的冠军可由足够的实力和奥古斯塔球场的球员同场较量。松山英树、2012年冠军关天朗和其他亚太地区的业余参赛者都证明锦标赛的实力,并为一些该受赏的球员创造个高尔夫平台,让他们向外展示惊人的天赋。首届亚太业余锦标赛冠军韩昌丸,现参加在亚洲地区数个不同的专业巡回赛,他赢了2011年同一亚洲巡回赛的资格赛。

亚太业余锦标赛的成立是希望透过世界级的业余赛事和美国大师赛的邀请,激励下一代高尔夫球员定立目标(赛事的冠军和亚军(或并列亚军的球手)获得参加下一年英国公开赛选拔赛的资格)。当他们看到朋辈球员在奥古斯塔球场竞争,而亚太业余锦标赛的历届冠军亦逐渐在不同的大型高尔夫球比赛中取得佳绩,令人留下印象。这不但能启发亚太区的球手,也令他们成为其他业余球手的榜样和学习对象。

亚太业余锦标赛的冠军在过去3届的美国大师赛中都能够晋身赛事的最后两轮,松山英树(2011)和14岁的关天朗(2012)更夺得low-amateur的殊荣。没有其他的业余比赛冠军,包括美国业余赛的冠军,能够在过去3年的美国大师赛中晋身赛事的最后两轮。

关天朗是美国大师赛历年来最年轻的参赛者,必原来的纪录保持者差不多年轻两岁,同时在2013年的美国大师赛中,成为最年轻的球员晋身决赛。他以第58名完成在奥古斯塔的赛事,继而在美国职业巡回赛苏黎世精英赛中也打进赛事最后两轮。 他是继1957年美巡赛加拿大公开赛的15岁球员鲍勃.潘纳斯克(Bob Panasik)后,在美巡赛中打进最后两轮的最年轻球员。

在去年的亚太业余锦标赛里, 关天朗以1杆之差击败对手潘政琮。 他现在是世界业余高尔夫里排名第一的球员,实力不容置疑。 他就读华盛顿大学第3年, 在今年的美国公开赛并列第45位并入选全美高尔夫球队的成员。他也是去年美国业余锦标赛的最后4强选手。 如果潘政琮在8月18日美国业余锦标赛后能够保持世界业余高尔夫排名第一的位置,他将会获颁发麦寇梅克奖 (Mark H. McCormack Medal)。 他得奖后可以直接获得进入美国公开赛和英国高尔夫公开赛的参赛资格。

胜出亚太业余锦标赛亦可同时让潘政琮参加美国大师赛。 他将可持续这新进赛事的强势成为新一届的冠军。

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Past Champions Lead the Way

Hideki Matsuyama’s swing is defined by a slow, controlled backswing. It’s a stark contrast to his rapid rise in the world of professional golf.

Matsuyama, who turned pro in April, quickly established himself in the top 50 of the Official World Golf Ranking after top-10 finishes at both the U.S. Open and The Open Championship, as well as two victories on the Japan Golf Tour (Matsuyama, like Ryo Ishikawa, also won on the Japan Golf Tour as an amateur). The 21-year-old Matsuyama was No. 33 in the Official World Golf Ranking on Aug. 1, easily the top-ranked player in all of Asia and a virtual lock to make this year’s International Team for the Presidents Cup.

These are all impressive accomplishments, but not the first time Matsuyama has shone on the international stage. He made two appearances in the Masters as an amateur, making the cut both times and earning low-amateur honors in 2011 thanks to a 27th-place finish. Those Masters starts were earned with victories in the 2010 and 2011 Asia-Pacific Amateur Championships, just the second and third editions of the development initiative created by the Asia Pacific Golf Confederation, Masters Tournament and The R&A.

When the Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship was created in 2009, there was wonder about whether the champion of this new event could be competitive on the commanding stage of Augusta National. Matsuyama, 2012 champion Tianlang Guan and other Asia-Pacific Amateur competitors have shown that the Championship can, indeed, create opportunities for deserving players to display their tremendous talents on one of golf’s grandest platforms. Chang-Won Han, the inaugural Asia-Pacific Amateur Champion, is currently competing professionally on various tours in Asia; he won the OneAsia Tour’s 2011 Q-School.

The Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship was founded to inspire future generations of golfers by giving them a premiere amateur championship, and a potential Masters invitation, to aim for (as well as an invitation to International Final Qualifying for The Open Championship to the winner and runner-up). Watching their peers compete at Augusta National has provided inspiration to players of this region, and the AAC’s early champions have served as worthy role models for established and aspiring players, impressing with their success in some of golf’s biggest championships.

The AAC winner has made the cut in each of the past three Masters, with two of those winners earning low-amateur honors: Matsuyama (2011) and 14-year-old Guan (2013). No other amateur championship, including the U.S. Amateur, has had its winner make the cut in each of the past three years.

Guan was the youngest competitor in Masters history by nearly two years when he played the 2013 Masters, then the youngest player to make the cut. He followed his 58th-place finish at Augusta National by making the cut at the PGA Tour’s Zurich Classic. In doing so, he became the youngest player to make the cut in a PGA Tour event since 15-year-old Bob Panasik at the 1957 Canadian Open.

The player who Guan beat by a single shot at last year’s Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship, Cheng-Tsung Pan, is quite accomplished in his own right. He’s now the No. 1 player in the World Amateur Golf Ranking. Pan, who is entering his junior year at the University of Washington, made the cut at this year’s U.S. Open (T-45) and was a first-team All-American. He also was a quarterfinalist at last year’s U.S. Amateur. Pan will win the Mark H. McCormack Medal as the world’s top amateur if he can retain the No. 1 position in the World Amateur Golf Ranking after the U.S. Amateur, which concludes Aug. 18. That award comes with exemptions to the U.S. Open and The Open Championship.

A win at the Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship would allow Pan to play in the Masters, as well. It also would allow him to continue the strong legacy of this nascent championship.

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