Matsuyama in triumphant return to Japan
After an absence from his home tour of nearly two months, local hero Hideki Matsuyama gave the home fans – and his Internationals Presidents Cup captain Nick Price – even more to cheer about after capturing his third event of the Japan Golf Tour season with a win in extra holes at the Fujisankei Classic.
All eyes were on the 21-year old who has been impressive over the past three months, logging top 10 finishes in his maiden appearances at the U.S. and British Opens.
Hideki Matsuyama (Credit: www.golffile.ie)
He didn’t disappoint, defeating Hideto Tanihara and Sung-Joon Park in extra holes, but not before he lost a seemingly unassailable lead with a double-bogey on the 16th and a bogey on the final hole of regulation.
A final round 73 saw him record a four round total of nine-under 275, tied with last week’s JGTO winner Park and Tanihara who each shot final rounds of 69.
The win is the latest in Matsuyama’s meteoric professional career, which is not yet six months old, and caps a great fortnight after earlier securing his automatic place in the Internationals Presidents Cup squad for the biennial matches at Muirfield Village in a month’s time.
His winner’s cheque extends his substantial lead at the top of the Money list in Japan, with his earnings of ￥106,731,000, (A$1.2 million) almost double that of second ranked Park.
Brendan Jones was the best of the Australians after a final round 67 earned him a tie for 17th, while Ryan Haller (T47) and Steve Conran (T62) were well back in the field.
The JGTO will return in a fortnight with the staging of the ANA Open in Sapporo from September 19 – 22.