Twenty-one-year-old Hideki Matsuyama could be a star in the making and while lifting the Claret Jug, priced at 200/1, may be beyond him, 7/4 to be the top Japanese player looks a very good bet.
Matsuyama finished tied for 10th in the US Open in his first appearance in a Major since turning professional in April of this year, but had been creating quite a stir in the golfing world for some time.
Prior to that finish, he had won five amateur titles including the 2010 Asian Amateur Championship, which allowed him to compete in the following year’s Masters tournament, becoming the first Japanese Amateur to compete at the tournament. He finished tied for 27th and was presented with the Silver Cup as the best placed non-professional.
With two Japanese Tour wins already to his name this year, he is now ranked as highly as 44th in the world.
Veteran Hiroyuki Fujita, 6/1, could provide Matsuyama’s stiffest competition. The 44-year-old, who is ranked 80th in the world, turned pro in 1992 and has appeared in the Open four times. His best performance came in 2005 when finishing tied for 51st.
However, on his last three appearances has failed to make the cut. On the PGA Tour this year, he has played in three events, making it to the weekend just once.
Flamboyant Shingo Katayama is also priced at 6/1, but like Fujita, his career is in its twilight. The 40-year-old has 26 Japanese Tour wins to his name, but his last came in 2008.
And while many will remember his excellent fourth in the 2009 Masters, he has not appeared in a Major since 2010 and failed to make the cut in the 2006 Open – his last appearance in the British Major.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.