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Matsuyama shoots 67 in pro debut

Kyodo

Hideki Matsuyama turned in an impressive round of 4-under 67 on his professional debut Thursday at the Token Homemate Cup, the opening domestic event of the 2013 JGTO Tour season.

The 21-year-old Matsuyama, who became the third amateur in history to win on the JGTO Tour when he captured the 2011 Taiheiyo Masters, mixed six birdies with two bogeys at the par-71 Token Tado Country Club Nagoya.

Komei Oda, Australian Steven Conran and Atomu Shigenaga all shot 66s to share the first-round lead at the ¥130 million event.

Born in Ehime Prefecture, Matsuyama graduated from Meitoku Gijuku High School in Kochi Prefecture — one of the most renowned schools in the country for producing professional athletes — before enrolling at Tohoku Fukushi University in 2010 when he was crowned Asian amateur champion.

He won accolades for his debut performance at the 2011 Masters by placing in a tie for 27th for the top finish by an amateur.

Yuta Ikeda and Tetsuji Hiratsuka were also among a group of eight golfers sharing fourth place.

Elsewhere, last season’s money title winner Hiroyuki Fujita, who endured a nightmare at last week’s Masters Tournament in Augusta, missing the cut after an 85 left him bottom of the rankings after the second round, matched par for a share of 59th.