Pros advice

Hideki Matsuyama wins Hero World Challenge golf tournament

Japan’s Hideki Matsuyama hit a wonderful bunker shot on the third hole during this week’s final round at the Hero World Challenge golf tournament on Sunday to win the event and shift the spotlight away from a returning Tiger Woods.

Heading into the event, everyone’s mind was on how well Tiger would perform following return from injury, but Matsuyama clinched a solid victory before admitting he felt honoured to win a tournament hosted by the 14-time major winner.

Woods had been on the side lines for 15 months—the longest in his career—and wrapped up his campaign with a four over 76 at the Albany Golf Club and finished 15th in a 17-man field.

Woods was four-under for the tournament with rounds of 73, a stunning 65 on the second day, 70 and 76. He could take plenty of positives from the tournament, and his back seemed to have held up well after undergoing two surgeries.

“As I said, I made some birdies this week, which is nice. I was playing aggressive. This golf course allows one to be aggressive, but I also made some bad mistakes. For instance, today I had two 7s. You can't make two 7s. And 18, another double there. Three doubles today just adds (sic) up to a pretty high number," Woods said after the event.

"On the flip side is that I was able to be aggressive and made some birdies, made some putts and just need to balance it out," he added.

For Matsuyama, however, it was a very productive day. The 24-year-old finished at 18 under after a 73 on the final day of this unofficial PGA Tour event.

It was his fourth win in his last five, including the WGC-HSBC Champions in China, and he saw off the challenge of Sweden's Rio Olympics silver medalist Henrik Stenson by two strokes, despite shooting a poor 39 on the back nine on the final day.

Matsuyama dominated the event with rounds of 65, 67, 65 and 73, his worst of the tournament. He led both Dustin Johnson and Henrik Stenson by seven strokes going into the final day's play, rarely looking troubled by the rest of the field.

"I can't say that I played well today, but I did win Tiger's tournament and what a great honour that is," Matsuyuma said.

He added, "At the turn I was hoping to make some more birdies, and then I doubled 10 and then it got difficult, especially when I bogeyed 14. After that it was a real struggle."

Speaking about Tiger, Matsuyuma said: "I first heard the name of Tiger Woods at the '97 Masters. I videotaped it and I watched that video over and over and over again.

"Unfortunately, I was not able to see all those wins (by Tiger) because they didn't have the broadcast in Japan, but I knew Tiger was winning and I knew he was very good, and I almost expected him to win almost every tournament," Matsuyuma added.

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