Golf: Kiwi Kazuma Kobori eyes higher honours after career-launching Western Amateur win

Fresh off the biggest win of his career, Kiwi Kazuma Kobori is now eyeing the biggest prize in amateur golf, when the US Amateur begins on Tuesday.

Last week, Kobori won the Western Amateur - a tournament where previous winners include Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and Jack Nicklaus.

The victory also grants him a spot in a PGA Tour event next year, which could prove the perfect launching pad for a pro career.

It was a win Kobori will never forget.

"For me to be holding this right now feels unreal," he told Newshub.

Kazuma Kobori celebrates a putt at the NZ Open.
Kazuma Kobori celebrates a putt at the NZ Open. Photo credit: Getty Images

Becoming just the second Kiwi to win the Western Amateur, he joins a list of winners that includes golfing royalty.

"Yeah, it's a pretty good one," he admitted. "I saw Danny... Danny Lee winning in 2008." 

This week, he hopes to replicate Lee again, when he tees off at the US Amateur in Colorado. Lee's the only New Zealander to ever win the illustrious tournament.

"Hopefully, I can follow in his footsteps," said Kobori. "I reckon that's not a bad idea."

After the US Amateur, he'll turn his attention to the Asia Pacific Amateur and Eisenhower Trophy in October, before likely turning pro.

Kobori, 21, has an Australasia Tour card for the coming season, while his win at the Western Amateur also grants him a start on the PGA Tour and second-tier Korn Ferry Tour next year.

"If I didn't have that, I'd probably have to cut my amateur stuff short and start playing professional golf to accumulate enough points," he said. "Fortunately, I don't have to do that, so i can give Asia Pacific and that a real good go... one last try, before I turn."

After turning heads, when he won the NZPGA at just 17, Kobori is now proving it was no one off.

"Right now, I'm playing quite nicely, so I just hope to ride this wave as long as I can."

All going to plan, it could soon see him becoming the next Kiwi golfing star.