WGC-HSBC Champions – Hideki Matsuyama
Twenty nine birdies over the course of the week gave Matsuyama (and Asia) his first WGC victory and he did it by a whopping seven shots from Daniel Berger and Henrik Stenson – the Swede moved above Danny Willett at the top of the Race to Dubai standings.
The Japanese star (-23) was only one shot off Dustin Johnson’s record aggregate and his last dropped shot came at the 9th on Friday. His final-round 66 followed efforts of 66-65 and 68.
One startling stat from Matsuyama’s final round was that he recorded nine 3s on the card, his birdie at the 13th from off the green the likely highlight. At the last, pressing for a 30th birdie, he found the water but still rolled in a putt for par.
Rory McIlroy also closed the gap on Willett with a 66 to share fourth place. Scotland’s Russell Knox had began the final round as Matsuyama’s closest challenger but fell away to a 74 due to four straight bogeys around the turn.
— The European Tour (@EuropeanTour) October 30, 2016
What Matsuyama said: “I was really nervous at the start of the day, but I was able to birdie hole number one. I kind of got myself into the rhythm of the day, and after that it was smooth sailing.
“I really don’t know why I played well this week. Over the last three years I’ve had to withdraw twice and I didn’t play very well the other year. But I got off to a good start and I really didn’t make any changes to my swing or anything else. I have putted really well these last three weeks, and that’s probably the difference.
“My next goal is, of course, to win a Major, and I’m going to do all that I can to prepare well for that.”