The Up and Coming Pro You’ve Never Heard Of

He spent a record 87 weeks at #1 in the World Amateur Golf Rankings. 4 wins in the last 10 months. His 3 wins in 2023 on the Japan Golf Tour propelled him to win the JGT Order of Merit and status on both the Korn Ferry Tour and the DP World Tour. He opted to play in Europe full time.

Meet Keita Nakajima. The 23 year old Nakajima dominated the DP World Tour Hero Indian Open to earn his first victory in Europe. Back to back rounds on Thursday and Friday of 7 under 65 followed by Saturday’s 4 under 68 allowed him to coast to a 4 stroke victory despite shooting 4 over his last five holes (with a birdie at 15). The win earned him €355,000, propelled him from 90th to 13th in the Race to Dubai rankings (Top 10 at year end automatically qualify for the PGA Tour) and he cracked the top 100 in the Official World Golf Ranking moving to #78.

Nakajima’s 87 weeks as the #1 ranked amateur shattered the record of 60 weeks previously held by Jon Rahm. While ranked #1, he received back to back McCormack Medals in 2021 and 2022. (The first player to win more than once in the award’s 17 year history). His victory in the 2021 Asia-Pacific Amateur came with an invitation to the 2022 Masters, the first of 4 Major starts he had as an amateur.

Nakajima set his sights on a career in golf due to the influence of the one and only Tiger Woods. “Whenever I would watch the PGA Tour on TV, I’d always see Tiger Woods playing and since then, probably around the time I was in junior high school, I have always wanted to be a professional golfer.” His first win on the DP World stage seems like it bodes well for his growing career. “This is my first year playing on the DP World Tour and I’m very proud to have won…and very honored to be playing here. I want to try and finish on the top 10 on this tour and then go to the PGA Tour in 2025.” This will not be the last time we see this young man at the top of the leaderboard.