Updated: 12/01/2013 19:44 | By Agence France-Presse

Matsuyama is first rookie golfer to win Japan money list

Hideki Matsuyama became the first rookie to win the Japan Golf Tour money list Sunday when the 21-year-old clinched his fourth victory of the season at the Casio World Open.

Matsuyama is first rookie golfer to win Japan money list

Hideki Matsuyama aims for a putt during the Frys.com Open at the CordeValle Golf Club in San Martin, California on October 12, 2013

Matsuyama only turned professional in April but capped a brilliant debut season by pipping Yuta Ikeda at the Kochi Kuroshio Country Club course in southern Japan.

He held on to his overnight lead to defeat Ikeda by just one stroke with a final round 70 for a 12-under-par total of 276.

"It makes me happy to win a tournament and clinch the money title at a course where I practised golf when I was in middle school and high school," Matsuyama said. 

"I have never played so patiently in tournaments in which I led going into the final round. I managed to hold on," he added after picking up the winners cheque of 40 million yen ($400,000).

Matsuyama made headlines in 2010 when he captured the Asian Amateur Championship, earning a ticket to the 2011 US Masters as the first Japanese amateur to do so. 

There he won leading amateur and has since found the transition to the professional ranks an easy one.

His victory on Sunday increased his winnings for the year to an unassailable 201 million yen with one more tournament left in the Japan tour's 25-event season.

He is only the third player to break the 200 million yen mark following Masashi "Jumbo" Ozaki in 1994 and 1996 and Toshimitsu Izawa in 2001.

Remarkably, Matsuyama, who is due to graduate university in March, achieved the feat by playing in just 13 domestic tournaments -- around 10 fewer than most tour regulars.

The Casio World Open was Matsuyama's fifth victory at a Japan Tour event. As an amateur in 2011 he won the high-profile Taiheiyo Masters by two strokes.

Second on the money list was South Korea's Kim Hyung-Sung at 124 million yen. Japan's Shingo Katayama was third at 110 million yen.

Matsuyama has yet to win abroad but has impressed at the majors. He was tied sixth in his debut at the British Open this year, finished joint 10th at the US Open and 19th at the PGA Championship.

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