Friday, May 25, 2018

Hideki Matsuyama wins Phoenix Open in playoff for second straight year

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Hideki Matsuyama won the Phoenix Open on the fourth hole of a playoff for the second straight year, outlasting Webb Simpson on Sunday.

Matsuyama won with a 10-foot birdie putt on the short par-4 17th, the hole where the 24-year-old Japanese star finished off Rickie Fowler a year ago. "I just had faith and believed that my chance would come again, and I just waited and waited, had patience," Matsuyama said. "Finally, that last one went in."

Matsuyama closed with 5-under 66, parring the final three holes to match Simpson at 17-under 267 at TPC Scotts­dale. On the par-4 18th in regulation, Matsuyama's 20-foot birdie try to win stopped just short.

"I don't know how it stayed out," Matsuyama said. "But you can't be short on a putt like that."

Simpson birdied three of the last four for 64, the best round of the day. "To shoot 7 under on Sunday, birdieing 17 and 18 is a great feeling, knowing I had to do it," Simpson said. "But Hideki is a great player, obviously. … I wish I could have a couple of putts back and hit them a little harder."

The tournament drew an estimated 58,654 Sunday to shatter the weekly attendance record with a crowd of 655,434. The previous mark of 618,365 was set last year.

Matsuyama has thrived in the party atmosphere, tying for fourth in 2014 and tying for second in 2015 before winning the last two years. "There's nothing like it in golf," he said. "Playing in front of the number of fans and gallery this past week, great motivation. I just try to have fun with it and at the same time keep my focus."

Matsuyama and Simpson took advantage of third-round leader Byeong Hun An's back-nine collapse. Three strokes ahead of Matsuyama, An bogeyed the first two holes on the back nine and closed with two more. He shot 73 to finish sixth at 14 under.

Matsuyama won his second PGA Tour title of the season and fourth overall. He has won five worldwide events in the past 3½ months.

Louis Oosthuizen finished a stroke back after 65. Phil Mickelson tied for 16th at 10 under after 71.

PGA Europe: Sergio Garcia shot a final-round 3-under 69 to win the Dubai Desert Classic after holding the tournament lead since the opening round in the United Arab Emirates. Garcia finished at 19-under 269, three strokes ahead of Henrik Stenson (69).