Kanaya during his successful amateur career – photo Asia Pacific Amateur
Japan’s Takumi Kanaya looks set to follow in the footsteps of his fellow Japanese star, Hideki Matsuyama, following his victory in this week’s Dunlop Phoenix Tournament in Miyazaki in Japan, the 22 year old surviving a playoff to win one of the more significant events on the Japan Tour.
Kanaya, who turned professional only last month, has finished 7th, 5th and now 1st in his three events in the paid ranks, transitioning almost seamlessly from an outstanding amateur career.
Kanaya, who finished tied for 3rd as an amateur at last year’s Australian Open, had already won on the Japan Tour when successful at the Visa Taiheiyo Championship 12 months ago but had been the world number one amateur for a total of 55 weeks prior to turning professional.
Matsuyama had also won the Visa Taiheiyo Championship as an amateur in 2011 and has also won the Dunlop Phoenix as a professional.
Amongst Kanaya’s victories in the amateur ranks was the 2018 Asia Pacific Amateur Championship, an event won on two occasions by Matsuyama and while very different in style as golfers, Kanaya appears as if a professional career as successful as that of Matsuyama’s is ahead of him.
Kanaya had also finished runner-up at the 2017 Japan Open and so for some time now has been on the cusp of success in the professional ranks.
Kanaya is finishing his senior year at university in Japan, the same university that Matsuyama attended in his college days.
Adelaide based coach, Gareth Jones, has played a significant role in the development of Kanaya having been the Japan Team coach for several years now and assisting Kanaya in the transition to the professional ranks.
Already ranked inside the top 200 in the world, this week’s victory will move Kanaya close to the top 125.