Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Matsuyama finishes off dominant victory at HSBC Champions

SHANGHAI — Hideki Matsuyama waved to a cheering crowd from the balcony of a corporate suite over the 18th green at Sheshan International, where moments earlier he finished a thorough beating of a world-class field in the HSBC Champions.

His game never felt better. And the Japanese star can only hope he's just getting started.

Matsuyama, 24, never gave anyone a chance Sunday, closing with 6-under 66 for a seven-shot victory that made him the first Asian to win a World Golf Championships event since the series began in 1999.

"He was brilliant," defending champion Russell Knox said. "No weaknesses the last two days. … He made it look very easy."

The only trouble came when it no longer mattered. Matsuyama realized one last birdie would give him 30 for the week, so he went for the green on the par-5 18th but his shot went into the water. He took his drop in the rough, hit wedge to 18 feet and made one last putt.

"I made 19 birdies the first few days, so then I was thinking, 'Well, if I make 11 more, I can win,' " he said. "That was kind of my goal, was to get to 30 birdies."

Matsuyama finished at 23-under 265. Henrik Stenson (65) and Daniel Berger (69) tied for second.

PGA: Cody Gribble won the Sanderson Farms Championship in Jackson, Miss., for his first tour title, closing with 7-under 65 for 20-under 268 and a four-stroke win. The 26-year-old rookie started the day a stroke behind playing partners Chris Kirk and Luke List, who both shot 70 and tied for second with Greg Owen (68).

CHAMPIONS: Tom Pernice won the first playoff event in the senior tour's history, beating Colin Montgomerie by a stroke in the PowerShares QQQ Championship at Sherwood in Thousand Oaks, Calif. Pernice closed with 2-under 70 for 13-under 203. Montgomerie parred the final five holes for 70. The top 72 on the money list earned spots at Sherwood, and the top 54 advanced to the Dominion Charity Classic this week in Richmond, Va. The field will be cut to 36 for the season-ending Charles Schwab Cup Championship the following week in Scottsdale, Ariz.

LPGA: Shanshan Feng won the Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia in Kuala Lumpur, shooting 4-under 67 after finishing off a third-round 64 in the morning to finish at 17-under 267 and beat Suzann Pettersen (66) by three strokes.

MCILROY OUT: Rory McIlroy pulled out of the Turkish Airlines Open this week, likely because of security concerns.