Matsuyama captures home victory with ZOZO success
An out-of-form Hideki Matsuyama credits a home crowd advantage with leading him to a second PGA Tour success this year at the ZOZO Championship in his native Japan.
The Masters champion reeled off two eagles including one at the final hole to record a convincing five-shot victory at the Accordia Golf Narashino Country Club east of Tokyo.
“It was one of my biggest goals to win in front of the Japanese fans here in this country as well,” said Matsuyama.
“It’s just great to be able to play in front of so many fans here in Japan and to be able to play well. I’m thrilled.”
“Also, in 2019 Tiger won the Masters and went on to win the ZOZO Championship, so I’m glad that I would be able to emulate that as well.”
Matsuyama was never really challenged. After opening with a superb 64 and taking the lead on day two, the 29-year-old fed off the parochial crowd to keep a quality international field at bay. A final round of 65 sealed the deal with Cameron Tringale and Brendan Steele having to settle for a share of distant second place at 10-under.
Hideki Matsuyama (Credit: PGA Tour)
Already an eight-time winner on the Japan Tour, Matsuyama now has seven PGA Tour titles to his name and sits just one win behind K.J. Choi, who holds the record for most victories in the US by an Asian player.
Incredibly Matsuyama becomes the fourth Masters champion to win in his home country in the same year in the past decade including Charl Schwartzel (2011 Joburg Open), Adam Scott (2013 Australian PGA Championship) and Sergio Garcia (2017 Andalucia Valderrama Masters).
The Japanese superstar takes home $1,791,000 for his win at the $9,950,000 event and moves from 33rd to 3rd on the FedExCup standings.
Matt Jones was the sole Australian in the field and finished in a share of 18th place with a final round 69.
While most of the big name players are now enjoying a well-earned break, the rest will be heading to the tropics for the upcoming Butterfield Bermuda Championship (Oct 28 – 31) and World Wide Technology Championship at Mayakoba in Mexico (Nov 4-7).