CHIBA, Japan (AP) — Masters champion Hideki Matsuyama had three birdies in five holes on the back nine and eagled the 18th for good measure for a five-stroke victory at the PGA Tour’s Zozo Championship on Sunday.
It was Matsuyama’s first PGA Tour win in his native Japan, although he’s only had one previous attempt. In 2019, Tiger Woods won the inaugural Zozo Championship, the first PGA Tour event in Japan, and last year the tournament was moved to California due to COVID-19 restrictions.
Matsuyama finished with a 65 and a 15-under total of 265 at Narashino Country Club. It was his seventh PGA Tour victory. If there was any doubt, Matsuyama hit a three-wood to about 12 feet with his second shot on the par-5 18th.
Asked when he thought he had clinched his home tournament, Matsuyama said through an interpreter: “Probably my second shot at 18, that was probably the clincher.”
Americans were tied for second at 10-under: Brendan Steele shot 66 and Cameron Tringale 69.
British Open champion Collin Morikawa had a final-round 69 and finished 10 strokes behind Matsuyama.
Tokyo Olympics champion Xander Schauffele shot 68 and was at even par on the tournament, Rickie Fowler had his second consecutive 71 and finished at 3-over.
“It wasn’t quite the same experience, didn’t play as well, but I enjoyed being here despite the lockdown and COVID rules,” Schauffele said. “I saw some of my family here, which was really cool. I don’t get a big opportunity to see them, so that was kind of the shining moment for me.”
The PGA Tour’s only stop on the Asia swing has attracted only three of the top 20 in the world rankings.
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