PGA Tour

Matsuyama rallies for dramatic playoff victory at Sony Open

play article
Subscribers can listen to this article
Hideki Matsuyama. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Hideki Matsuyama. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

Hideki Matsuyama eagled the first playoff hole to come-from-behind and beat Russell Henley at the Sony Open for his eighth PGA Tour victory, lifting him into a tie for the most wins ever by an Asian-born player.

Masters champion Matsuyama sank a three-foot putt on No 18 for a dramatic win as he overcame a five-shot deficit Sunday with a stunning back nine rally at the Waialae Country Club in Honolulu, Hawaii.

He continued his storybook play of late recording his second win of the season and third in his last 17 starts.

He is now tied with KJ Choi of South Korea for the most career PGA Tour wins by an Asia-born player with eight.

He helped seal the win in the playoff with a dramatic 277-yard, three-wood shot from the middle of the fairway on the par-five 18 that landed just under three feet from the pin.

"I got on a roll and I am glad it came out this way," said Matsuyama, who has shot 13 straight rounds in the 60s. "I am over the moon."

Matsuyama kept bogeys off his card Sunday, finishing with seven birdies in regulation for his second straight 63. He shot 66 and 65 on Thursday and Friday.

Matsuyama was pleased to follow in the footsteps of Isao Aoki, who became the first Japanese player to win on the PGA Tour in 1983 at the Sony Open when he holed out from the fairway for an eagle.

"I am really happy this is the first tournament that a Japanese player won," said Matsuyama, who had a massive gallery following all week in Hawaii.

Henley won the first of his three PGA titles in his tour debut at the Sony Open in 2013.

He began the fourth round with a two-stroke lead and got off to a hot start. The American made four birdies and an eagle on the front nine to extend his lead to five shots.

But Henley failed to hold off the charging Matsuyama on the back nine despite making just one bogey in his round. Henley had a chance to win it with an eight-foot putt on 18 in regulation but missed.

He found the bunker off the tee on the 18th hole and did the same off the tee in the playoff. After a decent second playoff shot, Henley sailed his third shot over the back of the green which set the stage for Matsuyama to easily win it with an eagle.

"I am disappointed to lose," said Henley. "It stings, but I played some great golf. I just got to keep chugging."

Leading fourth-round scores on Sunday in the US PGA Tour Sony Open at Waialae Country Club in Honolulu, Hawaii (x-won in a playoff, USA unless noted, par-70):

257 - x-Hideki Matsuyama (JPN) 66-65-63-63, Russell Henley 62-63-67-65

261 - Kevin Kisner 68-64-65-64, Seamus Power (IRE) 63-68-65-65

262 - Michael Thompson -18 F -7 63 67 69 63 262

Lucas Glover -18 F -5 67 66 64 65 262 71 159 88

263 - Keith Mitchell 67-68-65-63, Russell Knox (SCO) 67-67-64-65, Matt Kuchar 64-65-67-67, Adam Svensson (CAN) 64-67-65-67

264 - Corey Conners (CAN) 64-67-69-64

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For 14 free days, you can have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won't be billed. 
Subscribe to News24
Voting Booth
Would you be keen to see the Springboks join the Six Nations?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Yes! The Northern Hemisphere is the future.
52% - 2270 votes
No! The Rugby Championship is still the pinnacle.
48% - 2110 votes