Takumi Kanaya claimed a bit of golf history Wednesday by becoming the first player from Asia to win the Mark H. McCormack Medal. The award is presented annually by the R&A and the USGA to the leading player in the World Amateur Golf Ranking.
Following his T5 finish in the professional Japan Golf Tour’s Fujisankei Classic this month, the 22-year-old senior at Tohoku Fukushi University guaranteed himself top place in the global amateur standings. Due to the global COVID-19 pandemic it is the only tournament Kanaya has played in 2020.
It was an especially remarkable effort from the 2018 Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship winner, whose appearance at the Fujisankei event was his first competitive outing since he finished third in the Emirates Australian Open in early December.
Three weeks before that at the Taiheiyo Masters, Kanaya became just the fourth amateur to win on the JGT.
In other notable performances in the past year, he was edged out by China’s Lin Yuxin in a playoff at the 2019 Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship in Shanghai, China, and he tied for 40th at the Japan Open.
Earlier in 2019, he made the cut at the Masters and qualified for match play at the U.S. Amateur. In 2018, Kanaya finished second individually at the World Amateur Team Championship for the Eisenhower Trophy in Ireland.
Kanaya is in the field at this week’s U.S. Open at Winged Foot Golf Club, and will defend his Taiheiyo Masters title in mid-November.
The Amateur Golf Alliance announced that Club Real Valderrama in Spain will host the 2021 Concession Cup.
The biennial matches between mid-amateurs and seniors from the United States and Great Britain & Ireland previously have been played at Concession Club in Florida. Next year’s matches will include players from continental Europe combined with players from GB&I to make up Team Europe. The tentative dates scheduled for Nov. 15-21, pending final approval of the European Tour schedule for 2021.
“For the matches to continue to be a significant reward for top amateurs around the world we needed to take them overseas,” said Alan Fadel, president of the AGA. “To have the support of the European Golf Association and of a special club like Valderrama will make for a very special experience for all involved.”
Concession Cup teams are made up of 14 players, with six mid-amateurs, six seniors (55 and older) and two super seniors (65 and older). This year’s event will add a new component – the Trophy Cup Matches, which will honor a significant contributor to the game. These matches will coincide with the Concession Cup and bring 10 players from each side to compete at Valderrama. Players will play in similar format and be part of all the tournament festivities.
“The concession of a 3-foot putt by Jack Nicklaus to Tony Jacklin to halve their singles match and tie the overall match at the 1969 Ryder Cup at Royal Birkdale is one of the greatest sporting gestures of all time,” said Nuno Pereira Machado, president of Real Club Valderrama, which was the site of the 1997 Ryder Cup. “We are very excited to host the fourth edition of the Concession Cup in 2021, with some of the finest amateurs from Europe and the United States at our club in honor of that great moment.”
Staff and Wire Reports