Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship comes to Shanghai next year

The 2019 Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship will be held at Sheshan Golf Club on September 26-29. The tournament already has three champions from China.
Ti Gong

Seventeen-year-old Lin Yuxin, who won the Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship in 2017, poses with the Masters (left), Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship (center) and The Open trophies during a press conference in Beijing on Wednesday.

The 2019 Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship (AAC) will be held at Sheshan Golf Club in Shanghai from September 26 to 29, organizers announced on Wednesday.

It will be the fourth time that the tournament, which features promising young golfers and amateur players from the Asia-Pacific region, will be held in China. The champion receives an invitation to compete at the Masters and The Open, while the runner(s)-up gain a place in final qualifying for The Open.

“I’m excited that the AAC is returning to China,” said Lin Yuxin, last year's winner. The 17-year-old Beijing native became the third Chinese champion in AAC’s history after winning the 9th edition of the tournament at Royal Wellington Gold Cub in New Zealand in October 2017.

Lin has therefore qualified for the 2018 Masters in April as well as the 147th Open at Carnoustie in July. His victory also made China the only country with three AAC champions. The previous two young champions were Guan Tianlang (Thailand in 2012) and Jin Cheng (2015).

“The past year has been fruitful for China’s golf,” said Pang Zheng, secretary-general of the China Golf Association. “Feng Shanshan became (women's) world No. 1. Li Haotong won on the European Tour. Also, Chinese golfers were the top three finishers at the 2017 AAC, a tournament that rewards amateurs with life-changing opportunities.”

“The tournament decided to make China the host again, which is a kind of recognition of the progress China’s golf has made,” said Pang. “We also hope that the tournament will have a profound effect on China’s preparation for this year’s Asian Games and the 2020 Olympic Games.”

The 2019 AAC has named Sheshan Golf Club as its venue. The par-72, 7,266-yard course plays host annually to the WGC-HSBC Champions, which Japan's two-time (2010, 2011) AAC champion Hideki Matsuyama won in 2016.

“Our 12 years' experience of hosting the HSBC Champions means we have a mature team which will ensure a good tournament next year,” said Roger Foo, general manager of Sheshan Golf Club. “We are excited to welcome the best young and amateur golfers in the region.”

The 2019 ACC has been scheduled exactly one month ahead of the 2019 WGC-HSBC Champions.

“It (timing) will be a challenge, as end of September is also the season for grass change,” Foo added.

Founded by the Asia Pacific Golf Confederation, the Masters tournament and The R&A, ACC was first held in 2009 in Shenzhen, Guangdong Province. It also visited Longkou, Shandong Province, in 2013. This year’s tournament will take place at Sentosa Golf Club in Singapore from October 4 to 7.

“The tournament has always hoped to create new heroes in the region,” said Steven Ethun, director of communications for the Masters.

“I remember that in 2012, 14-year-old Chinese golfer Guan Tianlang became ACC’s youngest champion,” Ethun added. “I was excited to see Guan attracting so many media from China to cover the event. Our latest version of the tournament created another champion Lin Yuxin, who will now present his skills at both the Masters and The Open.”

“To be able to take part in the two premier tournaments is like a childhood dream come true,” said Lin. “I cherish and will enjoy the chance of playing together with world class golfers and learn from them.”

Ti Gong

Lin shows off the 2018 Masters invite. He qualified for the April tournament after winning the 2017 Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship.

Lin said his preparation for the Masters is on track and he will continue to work on the stability of his shots and other technical details.

Asked if he has any favorite golfer with whom he would like to be grouped at the Masters, the 17-year-old lefty said he would be pleased to play with current world No.1 Dustin Johnson who is known for his long shots.

“My shots also go far. I just want to see who can hit farther,” Lin joked.

Lin said his parents will caddie for him for the Par 3 Contest at the Masters, which will fall on the third day of the tournament to be held at the Augusta National Golf Club.

“It will be a special moment for me, and I want my parents to be part of it,” said Lin.