Hideki Matsuyama cards two eagles, wins Zozo Championship at home in Japan
Japan’s Hideki Matsuyama made two eagles and pulled away from Cameron Tringale on the back nine to win the Zozo Championship on Sunday in his native Japan. Here’s everything you need to know:
Leaderboard: Hideki Matsuyama (-15), Cameron Tringale (-10), Brendan Steele (-10), Mac Hughes (-6), Matt Wallace (-6), Sebastian Munoz (-6)
How it happened: Entering the day a shot ahead of Tringale, who had another shot at his maiden Tour title, Matsuyama parred the first five holes yet kept his lead. Tringale birdied the par-5 sixth, but Matsuyama jarred a long eagle putt to remain a shot ahead. While Tringale would lead at the turn after a birdie at the ninth, Matsuyama birdied three of five holes – Nos. 11, 13 and 15 – to take control for good. The two traded bogeys at No. 17 before Matsuyama put the exclamation point on the day with a closing eagle to card a closing 5-under 65 and win by five.
What it means: Matsuyama began the week by massively downplaying his form. “Ball-striking, putting, chipping, all of these have not reached the level I want,” he told reporters on Wednesday. “If my game scored 10 out of 10 at the Masters, now I would say it scores less than one. I will be struggling this week, but I am here in Japan, so I am motivated to be in contention.” There’s no place like home, eh? For the first time since his victory at Augusta National last April, Matsuyama is a winner. He had posted just three top-10s during the drought, but now he’s projected to climb back inside the top 15 in the world rankings. Matsuyama’s win also marked his first in his native Japan since 2016.
Round of the day: Another Japanese player, Naoto Nakanishi, had the low final round, a closing 63 that capped what started as a 71-73-73 week.
Shot of the day: Matsuyama’s long eagle make kickstarted his round and kept him a shot clear of Tringale.
And a great hybrid to 12 feet set up a second eagle and sealed Matsuyama’s five-shot triumph.
Biggest disappointment: Tringale didn’t make many mistakes, but three birdies wasn’t enough to break through and his closing bogey cost him solo second. He now has four runner-up finishes in 314 career Tour starts and adds to his lead as the Tour’s biggest earner (up over $15.5 million) among players without a win.