Honolulu – Hideki Matsuyama Closing the five-shot gap on the back nine, then won the Sony Open in the playoffs with one of the best shots he’s ever seen, a 3-wood into the Sun 3 feet to give Eagles beat Russell Henry on Sunday.
Matsuyama’s eighth career PGA Tour victory puts him with Cui Jingjie An Asian-born player has won most tours.
“I made it,” said Matsuyama, who had a 31 on the back nine while Henry had eight pars and a bogey. “I’m glad it came out this way.”
Matsuyama, who shot a 2-putt birdie on the par-5 18th for a 7-under 63, entered the extension when Henry missed a 10-foot birdie putt to close with a 65. race.
Back in the 18th sudden-death playoff, Matsuyama hit a 3-wood from the tee with Henry in the fairway bunker this time. This left him with another 3-wood, and he immediately raised his hand to cover the sun and search for the ball.
He doesn’t need to look. A larger Sunday gallery in Waialae erupted in cheers as the ball landed about 10 feet in front of the back pin and rolled out 3 feet for the Eagles.
Henry had to hit his lob wedge from 85 yards after a layup on the sand and over the green for a bogey.
At that time, it didn’t matter. Matsuyama tapped his putt for his second win of the season. Both times, he ended up with the Eagles, just that he needed the blow. His eagle at the Zozo Championship in Japan gave him a five-shot victory.
Matsuyama knows his Sony Open history.This is where Aoki Gong In 1983, he became the first Japanese player to win on the PGA Tour when he hawked it from the fairway.
“I was ecstatic to keep up with him,” Matsuyama said.
They finished at 23-under 257. Matsuyama’s 13th consecutive round in the ’60s dates back to the last day of the Las Vegas Summit CJ Cup.
It’s always been a two-man race, even if it looks like it’s spinning out of control.
Matsuyama made an early pair of birdies, one shot short, and by Honolulu standards he had a large audience, many of whom shouted, “Su-go-i!” after his two birdies – “great” in Japanese.
Henry controlled his nerves. He made a 10-foot par putt to keep the lead after a long stretch on the 5th. That seemed to set him free, as Henry ripped from there — a flick birdie, an 8-foot birdie, a 3-foot birdie, and then a 3-footer for an eagle on the par-5 9th.
Matsuyama three-putted for par and suddenly fell behind by five strokes.
So much to glide home. The first sign of Henry’s struggle was when he pulled a wedge on the 10th hole from 30 feet to the left of the flag. Matsuyama started with birdie on the back nine, then Henry hit a two-stroke on the par-3 11th. Bogeyed on the left and into the bunker, Matsuyama shot 12 feet in one shot.
Henry saved two big pars, including an 8-foot putt on the 13th, and Matsuyama broke the lead again with a 20-foot birdie on the 15th.
This sets the finale. Matsuyama nearly took off his shoes on the 18th tee of the regular season, the longest of the day, even though his second shot was still 55 feet short, necessitating one of his better lag putts of the week.
Henry’s birdie putt for the win rippled over the right edge of the cup. It was the fifth time Henry had at least a 54-hole lead at the 2013 Sony Open but failed to convert the date into his first victory to start his rookie season.