Matsuyama MacManus battling for Masters bid


TOKYO, Japan – A  6-under-par 65 carded in torrential conditions on the West Course at Kasumigaseki Country Club has given Japan’s Hideki  Matsuyama the lead going into the final day of the 2010 Asian Amateur Championship. The 18-year-old from Ehime leads Tarquin MacManus of Australia by three strokes with a three-round total of 11-under-par 202.

Matsuyama got off to an explosive start, making four birdies in his first five holes. A dropped shot at the seventh was recovered on the 443-yard, par-4 ninth hole, before back-to-back birdies on 15 and 16 took him clear of his nearest challengers.

“It was difficult in the heavy rain, but fortunately I got off to a really good start,” he explained. “In those conditions, your body stiffens and your grip gets wet, so I was just trying to stay relaxed and keep my equipment dry.

“Even though I have a lead, I will not think about that and will just start fresh tomorrow. I’m going to try not to think about the prizes on offer because it might influence my game – I want to concentrate on individual strokes. But it would be wonderful to win, even though I would feel a bit out of my league.”

Alone in second place, MacManus signed for a second successive round of 4-under-par 67. The 21-year-old, who is in his senior year at the University of Arizona, made four birdies, two on each nine, in his bogey-free third round. The Queenslander now finds himself three off the lead, and three ahead of third-placed Yosuke Asaji of Japan.

The winner of the tournament will receive an invitation to compete in the 2011 Masters Tournament.