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Hideki Matsuyama shoots 61 to win Bridgestone Invitational

Hideki Matsuyama pumps a fist after completing a career-best round with a third straight birdie.

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Hideki Matsuyama pumps a fist after completing a career-best round with a third straight birdie.

AKRON, Ohio — Hideki Matsuyama was along for the ride four years ago when he watched Tiger Woods tear apart Firestone Country Club on his way to 61 in the second round, which tied the South course record and sent Woods to a seven-shot victory in the Bridgestone Invitational.

"I just couldn't believe that anyone could shoot 61 on this golf course," Matsuyama said.

He sure didn't expect that from himself Sunday, especially after he warmed up so badly that he wasn't sure which the way ball was going. Some four hours later, the 25-year-old Japanese star had a place alongside Woods in the record book.

Matsuyama finished with three straight birdies to cap a runaway victory with 9-under 61, giving him his second World Golf Championship in nine month. It was the lowest final round in four decades at Firestone, and it gave Matsuyama a five-shot victory over Zach Johnson.

He finished at 16-under 264 and moved back to the top of the FedEx Cup standings.

Matsuyama found more than his swing after he left the range. He might have found the game that elevated him to the golf elite last fall when he had four victories and two runner-up finishes in consecutive tournaments.

And the timing couldn't be better with the PGA Championship four days away, and with a Japanese nation clamoring for its first major champion.

"I hope their expectations aren't too high," said Matsuyama, who won for the third time this season. "But my expectations really at the beginning of this week weren't that high, either, and here we are."

Matsuyama started the final round two shots behind Thomas Pieters and Zach Johnson. Johnson shot 68 and Pieters 71.

WOMEN'S BRITISH OPEN: I.K. Kim banished the haunting memory of missing a 14-inch putt to win a major and replaced it with the sweetest sensation.

Finally, she can call herself a major champion.

Staked to a six-shot lead, Kim never led anyone get closer than two shots in St. Andrews, Scotland, and sealed victory with a bold hybrid over the burn to the 17th green. She made nine pars on the back nine and closed with 1-under 71 for a two-shot victory.

"I cannot describe my feelings," Kim said. "I just tried to have some fun, but it wasn't fun on the back nine."

Jodi Ewart Shadoff charged home with 64 to put pressure on the South Korean. But Kim didn't falter and finished at 18-under 270.

PGA: Chris Stroud made eagle on his final hole to get to get into a playoff with Greg Owen and Richy Werenski and won with a two-putt birdie on the second extra hole in the Barracuda Championship in Reno, Nev., his first PGA victory in his 289th start. Stroud played the final six holes with three birdies and eagle to earn 20 points in the modified Stableford format.

CHAMPIONS: Paul Goydos birdied the first playoff hole to win the 3M Championship over Gene Sauers in Blaine, Minn., Goydos' first Champions win of the season and fifth of his career. Goydos and Sauers shot 66 in regulation to get to 20-under 196. Goydos and Sauers entered the round as co-leaders with Kenny Perry, who shot 70.

SOLHEIM CUP: U.S. captain Juli Inkster added two rookies to her team. Inkster, the captain for the second straight time, added 18-year-old Angel Yin and Austin Ernst to her 10 automatic qualifiers, which include Seminole's Brittany Lincicome. She passed over experience in Paula Creamer and six-time Solheim Cup veteran Angela Stanford. The Solheim Cup is Aug. 18-20 at Des Moines (Iowa) Golf and Country Club.

Hideki Matsuyama shoots 61 to win Bridgestone Invitational 08/06/17 [Last modified: Sunday, August 6, 2017 9:15pm]
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