Sunday, January 21, 2018
Sports

Hideki Matsuyama rallies, wins Memorial in playoff

DUBLIN, Ohio — Hideki Matsuyama appeared ready to join a cast of top players throwing away a chance to win the Memorial.

A tee shot in the water on the 16th for double bogey. An approach over the back of the green on the 17th that led to bogey. Then a drive to the right that made the Japanese star so disgusted that he lightly slammed his club into the turf, and the driver head broke off.

The ball hit a tree and took one last bounce back into the fairway, and Matsuyama seized on the break. He took dead aim with a 7-iron to just outside 5 feet for birdie on the 18th hole to force a playoff with Kevin Na then won for the first time in America with a 10-foot par putt on the first extra hole.

"Right from the 15th hole, I had a lot of missed shots," Matsuyama said. "The double bogey at 16, bogey at 17, not a real good tee shot — I thought — at 18. But when I saw the ball on the fairway on the 18th hole there, that's when I was able to think I still have a chance."

Matsuyama, 22, earned validation as one of the game's bright young stars Sunday by closing with 3-under 69 and making two clutch putts on the 18th hole for his sixth career victory, the previous five on the Japan Golf Tour. This was his first win against a field of the world's top players. He and Na finished regulation at 13-under 275.

"I just think you've just seen the start of what's going to be truly one of your world's great players over the next 10 to 15 years," tournament host Jack Nicklaus said.

Masters champion Bubba Watson, the third-round leader, still led by one with five holes to play. He was 3 over the rest of the way to finish at 12 under. Adam Scott, the No. 1 player in the world, was tied for the lead until playing the last seven holes in 4 over.

"The whole thing is frustrating as I stand here right now," Scott said after he shot 71 to finish three back. "But everyone is going to feel like that. We all could have done something different. If we all did, who knows what the result would be?"

CHAMPIONS: Tom Pernice birdied the second hole of a sudden-death playoff with Doug Garwood to win the Principal Charity Classic in Des Moines, Iowa.

"I was calm all day. I played it with the right edge and I stroked it and it went right in the hole," Pernice said.

Pernice won for the third time on the 50-and-over tour, closing with 3-under 69 to match Garwood at 12-under 204 at Wakonda Club. Garwood, who opened the round with a one-shot lead, birdied the final two holes of regulation for 71.

LPGA: Stacy Lewis is back on top after winning the ShopRite LPGA Classic in Galloway Township, N.J. Lewis reclaimed the top spot in the world ranking from Inbee Park, finishing with 4-under 67 for a six-stroke victory. No. 1 for four weeks early last year, Lewis ended Park's 59-week run.

"It feels great," said Lewis, who finished at 16-under 197 on the Bay Course at Stockton Seaview Hotel and Golf Club. "I feel like I've played a lot of good, consistent golf over the last year and I felt like I deserve to be here. I didn't feel like I stumbled into it."

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