The 2023 Masters and 2023 Open Championship grew by a spot on Sunday as Harrison Crowe (-13) of Australia won the Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship by one stroke over Bo Jin (-12). That sounds like a straightforward outing for the 21-year-old, who was set to turn pro after this tournament until those Masters and Open bids waylaid his plans, but it was anything but simple.
Crowe needed a 33 on the back nine -- including four birdies in five holes at one point -- to surge past Jin, who led by three at the turn, and claim the trophy. Even that doesn't fully describe the drama.
Jin, still leading by one Sunday as he teed it up at the 17th hole at Amata Spring Country Club in Thailand -- a true island hole where players have to take a boat to the green -- hit his shot in the water on the par 3 and disappointingly finished double bogey-par to slip from 14 under to 12 under. Crowe, on the other hand, closed par-par on the last two holes to stay at 13 under and win by a stroke.
Crowe's par at the last was an up and down that itself nearly went in the water and could have cost him invites into perhaps the two biggest golf tournaments of 2023. He hung on with a nervy putt at the last that touched off a massive comeback over Jin.
On Saturday after Round 3, Crowe did a bit of foreshadowing when the No. 43 amateur in the world openly discussed how he was going to turn pro but wouldn't do it if his final round went like the first three. (He opened 69-67-67.)
"I would turn pro almost as soon as I get back home," said Crowe after taking a two-shot lead entering Sunday's final round of the Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship. "… I would love to delay that decision."
While round No. 4 wasn't quite as stellar, his even-par 72 was enough to make a dream come true. Now, he will as he'll have to wait six months for the Masters and nine months for the Open.
"It means so much. I played a lot of really good golf early in the season, but towards the middle of the year when I traveled overseas, I didn't play very good golf at all. So, I came out here this week with something to prove, and I'm just really proud of myself the way I handled myself on and off the course," said Crowe.
The Australian joins an impressive list of former winners of this tournament.
- 2021: Keita Nakajima
- 2020: N/A
- 2019: Yuxin Lin
- 2018: Takumi Kanaya
- 2017: Yuxin Lin
- 2016: Curtis Luck
- 2015: Cheng Jin
- 2014: Antonio Murdaca
- 2013: Chang-woo Lee
- 2012: Tianlang Guan
- 2011: Hideki Matsuyama
- 2010: Hideki Matsuyama
- 2009: Chang-won Han