DUBLIN: Japan’s Hideki Matsuyama cemented his status as one of golf’s rising stars on Sunday (Monday in Manila), winning his first US PGA Tour title in a playoff at the Memorial.
Matsuyama, who had birdied the final hole of regulation to force the playoff with Kevin Na, won at the first playoff hole with a 10-foot par putt.
The 22-year-old Asian star became the fourth Japanese player to win on the US PGA Tour, notching the victory in just his 26th start.
His triumph capped a wild final day that saw overnight leader Bubba Watson, the reigning Masters champion, drop out of contention after a bogey at 14 followed by a double-bogey seven at the par-five 15th at Muirfield Village.
Matsuyama’s own hopes looked dim after a double-bogey at the par-three 16th and bogey at 17.
He looked to be in trouble again after a poor tee shot at the last but finished with a birdie that capped a three-under par 69 for 13-under 275.
He forced the playoff with South Korea-born American Na, who had been in the clubhouse for some two hours having completed a bogey-free eight-under par 64 for 275.
They returned to 18 for the playoff, and Na was in a stream off the tee.
Matsuyama was in a bunker off the tee and hit into the gallery from there. But he came up with a beautiful flop shot and drained a 10-foot putt for par to seal the victory.