Four years ago at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational Hideki Matsuyama was paired with Tiger Woods for the opening two rounds. Just 21 at the time, he watched Woods tie the Firestone course record in the second round, which helped him go on to win the tournament for an eighth time. This morning, Australian time, Matsuyama channelled his inner-Tiger, posting a bogey-free nine-under 61 to match the course record and win his second World Golf Championship with a score of 16-under 264.
Matsuyama, 25, entered the final round two shots behind leaders Zach Johnson and Thomas Pieters, but immediately closed that gap with a chip-in eagle on the par-5 second hole. The world No.3 added three more birdies on the front to turn in five-under 30.
After going a bit cold, making just one birdie on his next five holes, Matsuyama closed the golf tournament in dominating fashion, making birdie on the final three holes to win by five strokes. It’s the fifth victory of his young career, and third this season. He’s now earned more than $US7 million and will take over the top spot in the FedEx Cup rankings.
Relive Hideki Matsuyama's final round 61 in under four minutes pic.twitter.com/xObquqzJex
— The European Tour (@EuropeanTour) August 6, 2017
Finishing in solo second at 11-under 269 was Johnson, who carded a final round two-under 68 that featured three birdies and a bogey. It’s his best finish in the WGC-Bridgestone, and his fifth inside the top-10 in 13 starts.
Charley Hoffman posted a four-under 66 to finish in solo third at 10-under 270. The four-time tour winner now has six finishes inside the top-five this season.
Belgian Pieters struggled in the final round, shooting a one-over 71 to finish in solo fourth at eight-under 272. He has finished inside the top-five four times this season, including a T-4 at the Masters, but is still searching for his first US PGA Tour victory.
Rickie Fowler, who hopes to capture his first Major this week at the site of his first US Tour victory, finished in solo ninth thanks to a four-under 66. In eight starts at the WGC-Bridgestone, he’s finished in the top-10 five times.
Scott Hend, who sat just a shot off the lead after 54 holes in what would have been a life-changing victory for the Queenslander, played alongside Matsuyama in the final round and carded a three-over 73 to dip into a share of 10th place as the leading Australian at Firestone Country Club.