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Hideki Matsuyama Survives Late Collapse to Win in Playoff
It was an eventful finish for Hideki Matsuyama at Jack Nicklaus' Memorial Tournament at Muirfield Village Golf Club. First, the 22-year-old Japanese phenom went double bogey-bogey at 16-17 to lose his lead to Kevin Na, who had finished off a 64 a couple hours earlier. Then he snapped the head off his driver on the 18th tee with a seemingly gentle club slam. Undaunted, he proceeded to post birdie on the toughest hole on the course for the fourth straight day to force a playoff with Na before finally finishing off his day with a driver-less, scrambling par to earn his first career PGA Tour win in his Memorial debut.
All in all, not a bad way to spend a Sunday. "I’m really, really happy,” Matsuyama said through his interpreter. “It’s a dream come true to win at Mr. Nicklaus’ course."
Matsuyama credited his experience of playing on the International Presidents Cup team last year with partner Adam Scott for his comfort level with the tricky Muirfield layout. "It had a great effect on how I played this week,” Matsuyama said. “I owe a lot to him."
The tournament host was suitably impressed. "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," Nicklaus said.
Here are some key numbers from a wild weekend:
1 Matsuyama's ball-striking was beyond reproach this weekend. He ranked first in the field in proximity to the hole on his approach shots, averaging 25 feet, the fourth-best mark by a field leader in an event this season
7 Bubba Watson's double bogey 7 at 15, the easiest hole on the course, came courtesy of a drive that he launched into an adjoining subdivision. "I made one bad decision," he said. "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."
+4 World No. 1 Adam Scott was tied for the lead before playing the final seven holes in 4-over par. "The whole thing is frustrating as I stand here right now," Scott said after a 71. "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?"
40 Kevin Na moved to 40th in the Official World Golf Ranking, qualifying him for the U.S. Open. Na had planned to play in a 36-hole qualifier Monday morning.
0 Phil Mickelson, embroiled in an insider trading investigation, finished T-49 and has yet to post a top-10 finish this season as he focuses on the tournament he wants most, the U.S. Open.