LOS ANGELES. — Japanese golfer Hideki Matsuyama outlasted Rickie Fowler by tapping in for par on the fourth hole of a marathon sudden-death playoff to win the US PGA Tour’s Phoenix Open.
The 23-year-old Matsuyama grabbed his second US tour title and improved on his runner-up finish to Brooks Koepka at last year’s tournament in the Arizona desert.
In his first appearance in Phoenix two years ago he finished in tie for fourth.
“What a great experience,” said Matsuyama, who is ranked 19th in the world. “Rickie opened the door for me, and I was able to walk through it.”
Matsuyama, whose only other US Tour title came at the 2014 Memorial, had two putts for the win at the fourth playoff hole — the par-four 17th — after Fowler put his shot into the water.
Both Matsuyama and Fowler carded four-under 67 on Sunday to finish regulation tied on 14-under 270.
Matsuyama, who has six wins on the Japan Golf Tour, said it didn’t bother him that most in the massive gallery were cheering for Fowler.
“They were for Rickie, weren’t they? But that gave me the motivation to go out and do it and win,” he said through an interpreter.
America’s Fowler had a two-shot lead on the tee at 17 in regulation, but, as he would later in the playoff, he found the water.
His bogey opened the door for Matsuyama to make birdie and pull even at 13-under as they headed to 18. — AFP.