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Golf: Matsuyama, Hoshino claim Tokyo Olympic berths for Japan

Hideki Matsuyama, left, and Rikuya Hoshino. (Kyodo)

TOKYO (Kyodo) -- Masters champion Hideki Matsuyama and Rikuya Hoshino have qualified to play for Japan at this summer's Tokyo Games following the announcement of the latest men's world golf rankings on Sunday.

    World No. 16 Matsuyama and No. 76 Hoshino receive automatic entry to the July 29 to Aug. 1 Olympic men's tournament at Kasumigaseki Country Club north of Tokyo as the top two players from Japan.

    The Olympic men's field of 60 is drawn from the world rankings following Sunday's conclusion of the U.S. Open at Torrey Pines, where Matsuyama and Hoshino finished nine strokes behind winner Jon Rahm in a group tied for 26th.

    The top 15 in the world qualify for the games, up to a maximum of four players per National Olympic Committee, with the remainder of the field filled sequentially from the rankings, with up to two players per NOC.

    Both Matsuyama and Hoshino are set to make their Olympic debuts. Matsuyama qualified for the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games but did not take part due to concerns about the Zika virus in Brazil.

    The 29-year-old, who became the first Japanese winner of a men's major at the Masters in April, has voiced reservations about the safety of this summer's Olympics, which have been postponed by a year because of the coronavirus pandemic.

    While stopping short of saying he would not participate, Matsuyama said the games "should probably be canceled" out of consideration for health care workers.

    Spaniard Rahm regained top spot in the latest rankings, pushing American Dustin Johnson, who is skipping the Olympics, into second place.

    All three men's Rio Olympic medalists -- Britain's Justin Rose, Sweden's Henrik Stenson and American Matt Kuchar -- failed to qualify automatically for the games.

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