Japanese star Mizuki Hashimoto shot four consecutive rounds of 68 to win the 2021 edition of the Women’s Amateur Asia-Pacific Championship, and book a spot in the 2022 AIG Women's Open field.
At the Abu Dhabi Golf Club, Hashimoto finished on 16 under to claim a one stroke victory, in so doing becoming the second successive Japanese champion of the event after Yuka Yasuda in 2019. The Thai duo of Kan Bunnabodee and overnight leader Natthakritta Vongtaveelap, along with Australia’s Kelsey Bennett, were tied second at 15 under.
As well as the trophy and a spot in the 2022 AIG Women's Open, the 19-year-old Hashimoto secured a spot in the Amundi Evian Championship and Hana Financial Group Championship field, and an invitation to play in the Augusta National Women’s Amateur.
“I have always seen these tournaments on the television. To be able to play in them is like a dream-come-true for me,” said Hashimoto, the 121st ranked amateur in the world.
“I am unable to say any words right now. I feel so happy to win this championship. I would like to say a big thank you to my teammates and everyone who supported me all week.
“The eagle on the third hole was a big surprise for me. I kept fighting hard after that until I made the winning putt. I played really well today.”
Hashimoto started the day three shots behind Vongtaveelap, and with the long-hitting Thai leader showing great consistency, something spectacular was required from the chasing pack to catch her.
But when Hashimoto holed her second shot from 135 yards for a spectacular eagle two on the 3rd, following it up with a birdie at the next after hitting her tee shot a foot from the flag, the momentum had shifted in the Japanese player's favour.
Vongtaveelap still had a chance to force a play-off on the final hole however, but she pushed her tee shot into the water and could only make a par, meaning it was Hashimoto who claimed victory.
To view the full final leaderboard, visit The R&A website here.