DOMINANT Hideki Matsu= yama made history yesterday when he became the first player from Asia to win a World Golf Championships. The 24-year-old from Japan left a world-class field, including Rory McIlroy and all four 2016 major winners, trailing in his wake as he finished seven strokes clear at the WGCHSBC Champions in Shanghai.
The 24-year-old Japanese player also became the first from the continent to win “Asia’s Major” and he did it in style with a flawless final round of six-under-par 66.
Matsuyama was just one shot shy of the record 72-hole score at Sheshan International Golf Club of 24-under-par set by current US Open champion Dustin Johnson three years ago.
Matsuyama finished at 23 under-par after four stunning rounds of 66, 65, 68 and 66 at the par-72 layout. British Open champions Henrik Stenson and Daniel Berger of the US were tied for second way back at 16-under-par.
World number three Rory McIlroy yesterday carded his second 66 of the week for yet another top-five finish as he took fourth place on 15-under-par.
Matsuyama, whose total of 29 birdies for the week was just three short of the all-time US PGA Tour record of 32, remarkably did not card a bogey after the ninth hole of his second round on Friday, despite testing damp and windy conditions in the Chinese megacity.
The in-form 24-year-old is set to rise to as high as number six in the world following his victory for which he wins US$1.62 million.
It caps a remarkable run in which Matsuyama has won the Japan Open, finished runner-up in the PGA Tour’s CIMB Classic in Malaysia and won the WGC-HSBC Champions in consecutive weeks.
Before that he had finished fifth in the US PGA Tour’s season-ending Tour Championships, won by McIlroy. –
Hideki Matsuyama of Japan celebrates his victory at the end of the final round of the World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions golf tournament in Shanghai on October 30.