Ten Australians have accepted their invitations to compete in the 2023 Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship at Royal Melbourne Golf Club next month, opening the door to earn a place in the Masters Tournament and the 152nd Open Championship next year.
Created in 2009, the Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship was established by the Asia-Pacific Golf Confederation (APGC), the R&A and the Masters Tournament to further develop amateur golf in the Asia-Pacific region.
The champion from the October 26-29 event will receive an invitation to compete in the 2024 Masters Tournament at Augusta National and the 152nd Open at Royal Troon, while the runner(s)-up will gain a place in Final Qualifying for The Open.
As the host nation, Australia will lead the list of 41 countries represented with 10 players in this year’s field. Three Australians have previously won the championship, including Harrison Crowe last year.
The Australian invitees in 2023 are: Jeffrey Guan (NSW); Jack Buchanan (SA); Lukas Michel (Vic); Connor Fewkes (WA); Quinnton Croker (Qld); Max Charles (Vic); Harry Bolton (ACT); Jye Pickin (NSW); Jasper Stubbs (Vic); and Harry Takis (Qld).
Michel believes there are plenty of potential winners among the Australian contingent and is looking forward to taking on Royal Melbourne’s Composite layout.
“I marked it on the calendar pretty much when it got announced and became official at last year’s event,” he said.
“I’ve never played the Composite course at Royal Melbourne, which is the best 18 holes in Australia, probably by a fair margin, so it was on the highest of lists of tournaments to play.
“I don’t think there is anyone that particularly stands out [from the Australian invitees] as maybe one to really watch, but I think any of the Aussies have a chance.”
Players from 41 APGC member organisations have accepted invitations with 118 players confirmed for the 120-player field. The field is highlighted by Japan’s Yuta Sugiura (20th in the World Amateur Golf Ranking as of September 5), China’s Wenyi Ding (No.22), New Zealand’s Kazuma Kobori (No.30) and Thailand’s Ratchanon “TK” Chantananuwat (No.34). Additionally, the 2022 runner-up, China’s Bo Jin (No.118) returns to attempt to go one better.
Notable past competitors include 2021 Masters champion Hideki Matsuyama, a two-time winner of the Asia-Pacific Amateur, and 2022 Open champion Cameron Smith.
In the championship’s 14-year history, the Asia-Pacific Amateur has served as a springboard to some of the world’s top players, including Matsuyama, Smith, Cameron Davis, Ryan Fox, Lucas Herbert, Si Woo Kim, Satoshi Kodaira, Kyoung-Hoon Lee, Min Woo Lee and C.T. Pan.
Collectively, alumni of the Asia-Pacific Amateur have gone on to win 24 tournaments on the PGA Tour to date and more than 120 across the PGA Tour, DP World Tour, Asian Tour and Japan Golf Tour.
The championship will be played over Royal Melbourne’s Composite course which comprises 12 holes from the West course and six holes from the East course. The West course was designed by Dr Alister MacKenzie, the same architect who shaped Augusta National Golf Club.
Royal Melbourne has previously held 16 men’s Australian Opens, two Women’s Australian Opens, three Presidents Cups and the Asia-Pacific Amateur in 2014, when Adelaide’s Antonio Murdaca became the first Australian to win the event.