Matsuyama triumphs at Memorial
Hideki Matsuyama edged Kevin Na in a playoff at the Memorial in Sunday to record his first win on US soil.
Matsuyama endured a torrid last five holes that would see him finish up 13 under for the tournament, tied with America’s Kevin Na and one stroke ahead of Masters winner Bubba Watson.
While he bogeyed the 14th, birdies at the 13th and 15th kept him on track for the win until he found the water on the 16th, where he would drop two shots.
Matsuyama’s woes continued on the 17th, where his approached shot went over the back of the green that led to another bogey.
On the 18th, his errand drive made him slam hi driver into the turf, snapping off the driver head. However, in a stroke of luck, the ball hit a tree and ended up on the fairway.
The Japanese player took advantage of this and landed hi seven iron just six foot from the pin. He rolled in a birdie to earn himself a spot in the playoff.
Na, who had fired a superb final round of 64, and Matsuyama made their way back to the 18th tee and after Na hooked his tee shot into the creek, it left the door wide open for his opponent. Some steady golf saw Matsuyama seal the win with a ten foot birdie putt.
“Right from the 15th hole, I had a lot of missed shots,” said the 22-year-old, the youngest ever winner at Memorial.
“The double-bogey at 16, bogey at 17, not a real good tee shot — I thought — at 18. But when I saw the ball on the fairway on the 18th hole there, that’s when I was able to think I still have a chance.
“I’m really, really happy. It’s a dream come true to win at Mr. Nicklaus’ course.”
The 18 time Major winner was in the broadcast booth for most of the back nine, and sang the young Japanese players’ praises after his landmark win.
“I just think you’ve just seen the start of what’s going to be truly one of your world’s great players over the next 10 to 15 years,” said Jack Nicklaus.
Meanwhile, Watson rued his poor decision making, leading to a an even par 72 after a double bogey on the 15th.
“It’s tough,” said the world number three.
“I made one bad decision. If I hit 4-wood off the tee instead of driver on the par 5, we make 5 and we win by one. But I made double, so we lost by one.”
World number one Adam Scott finished two strokes back on 10 under with a final round of 71.
“The whole thing is frustrating as I stand here right now,” revealed the Australian.
“But everyone is going to feel like that. We all could have done something different. If we all did, who knows what the result would be?”
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