Takumi Kanaya Profile
|Born||May 23, 1998|
|Birthplace||Kure, Hiroshima, Japan|
Takumi Kanaya is the new wonderkid of Japanese golf – a former Amateur World No. 1 who has made smooth progress into the pro ranks on home soil.
With an amateur back catalogue that is strikingly similar to that of the 2021 Masters champion Hideki Matsuyama there are high hopes in Japan that Takumi Kanaya will join his compatriot in the top echelons of the world game.
Like Matsuyama, Kanaya won the Asian-Pacific Amateur Championship, with it earning starts in the Masters and the Open.
He also topped the amateur world rankings, but he bettered Matsuyama in winning a professional event before he had actually joined the pro ranks.
When he did turn professional in late 2020 he claimed a second win - and first winner's cheque - and he soon added a third title in early 2021.
He's had limited opportunities outside of his home country, but on those rare trips abroad he has hinted that his ultimate destination will be the PGA Tour.
Kanaya won the Japan Amateur Championship as a 17-year-old in 2015 and three year later added the Asian-Pacific Amateur Championship.
Off the back of that triumph he finished T58th at same year's Masters (carding a third round 68) and missed the cut in the Open.
He was also the World No. 1 in the amateur rankings for no less than 55 weeks.
But perhaps his greatest feats as an amateur came in professional tournament.
In the Japan Open he was second at halfway in the 2015 (aged 17) and finished second two years later; he logged three top 20s in the Australian Open, including third in late 2019; and he recovered brilliantly from a first round 73 at the 2019 Taiheyo Masters to card rounds of 66-63-65 which earned him a sensational victory.
He joined the pro ranks in late 2020 and was immediately tied seventh in the Japan Open, T41st in the PGA Tour's Zozo Championship and then won the Dunlop Phoenix Tournament before he ended the year with tied fifth at the Nippon Series JT Cup.
He added another win in his first Japan Tour start of 2021 at the Token Homemate Cup before experiencing a dip in form.
But he ended the year with 12 finishes of T16th or better in 13 starts, no less than 10 of them top 10s.
He was unable to add to the win tally, but in the middle of that run he landed a first top 10 on the PGA Tour and he also broke the top 50 of the world rankings - vital for his participation in higher grade events in 2022.
Playing at the higher level
Kanaya has enjoyed great success in Australia, with a 100% record of registering a top 20 from four starts.
He made five starts on the European Tour in 2021, making the cut in the four regular events (including tied ninth at the Dubai Desert Classic and T17th at the BMW International Open), but missed a second cut at the Open.
He had struggled on the PGA Tour, but travelled to Las Vegas for the 2021 Zozo Championship and flew to the line on a wet sail for tied seventh.
Afterwards he said: "My ultimate goal is to become world's No.1 professional too. I am 22-years-old and many among my age are already making a great success in top class fields. I want to challenge too and I will do whatever necessary to succeed."
Takumi Kanaya's net worth
He signed with WME Sports agency (who also represent Patrick Cantlay and Jordan Spieth) on turning professional.
As of the end of 2021, he had earned $1million on the Japan Tour and $286,000 on the PGA Tour.