Made his Major debut at Royal Troon in 2016 thanks to a joint runner-up finish in the Japan Tour’s Gateway to The Open Mizuno Open – part of The Open Qualifying Series – and returns now as their leading money-winner last season.
The former national junior champion had no fewer than 10 top four finishes, although only one victory. That came in the Bridgestone Open in October when a closing 66 enabled him to pip Masahiro Kawamura to the title by one. Stood 85th in the world at the time, but has since moved into the top 60. Was runner-up in the Kansai Open and Fujisankei Classic and a week after the second of those lost the final of the ISPS Handa Match Play to Thanyakorn Khrongpha. Having topped the 2014 Japan Challenge Tour, he had to wait until the 2017 Kansai Open for his first success, but it came by an impressive six-stroke margin.
At Troon, which he expected to be “a very tough challenge”, Imahira opened with a three under par 68, but followed it with an 80 to miss the cut by two strokes. Received a special invitation to the Masters this April.