Hideki Matsuyama wins the Waste Management Phoenix Open after Rickie Fowler twice finds water on the 17th
Hideki Matsuyama won the Waste Management Phoenix Open in dramatic fashion on the fourth sudden-death play-off hole. In regulation play he had been two shots behind with two holes left.
For Rickie Fowler, this was one that got away. He was two shots ahead of the field when he stood on the 17th tee having made par on the famous 16th, after missing a 10ft birdie putt.
Then he then drove his tee shot on the 317-yard 17th through the green and into water. He made bogey whereas playing partner Matsuyama collected a birdie having hit his approach to within 3ft.
Fowler then came unstuck again on the 17th the first time the pair encountered it in the play-off.
In regulation play he explained of his tactics on the hole: “I’m hitting a chip-cut driver. Usually, I don’t expect it to hit on the downslope and then go 360 [yards].”
So in the play-off he pulled out his 3-wood instead but yanked his drive into the lake just short of the green. “Hit it solid,” Fowler said. “Just hit it a little high on the face and it just got up and left a little quicker than I wanted.”
Matsuyama chipped to 6ft and two-putted for the win after Fowler missed his 10ft par putt.
Danny Lee had gone into the final round three ahead of playing partners Matsuyama and Fowler, but shot 73 to drop to fourth position.
Four talking points from the Waste Management Phoenix Open:
1. For Matsuyama it was an overdue second victory on tour. The 23-year old had been very consistent without every coming out on top. In 2015 he finished in the top 5 on half a dozen occasions, including a tie for second in the Phoenix Open last year, and a fifth place in the US Masters. His only other win on tour had been via a play-off, at the 2014 Memorial when he overcame Kevin Na on the first extra hole.
2. Matsuyama described the 18ft putt he drained on the 72nd hole as ‘probably the best putt I have ever made in my life.” It had left Fowler needing to hole a 10-footer to make the play-off.
3. Fowler missed out on a fifth win in nine months. Last May he took the Players Championship, then he went on to win the Scottish Open and the Deutsche Bank Championship, and two weeks ago triumphed in Abu Dhabi. But victory here would have meant a lot as he explained afterwards: “This one hurts. The hard part is having all my friends and family and grandpa and my dad who haven’t seen me win. But I will be able to kind of hang with them tonight. I’ll be all right.”
4. The best attended golf tournament in world golf has become even better attended. The total attendance of 618,365, shattered the record of 564,368 set last year A new daily record was set on the Saturday with a reported 201,003 spectators, surpassing the daily record set last year when 189,722 attended on the third day. A crowd of 160,415 came on the Friday, breaking the second-round record of 123,674 set in 2014. “It was a blast playing in front of all these people,” Matsuyama said. “I’d say probably 99 percent were cheering hard for Rickie, but that gave me the motivation to go out and do it and win.”
Waste Management Phoenix Open
TPC Scottsdale, Scottsdale, Arizona
Purse: $6,500,000, par 71
1 Hideki Matsuyama 65 70 68 67 15 270 $1,170,000
2 Rickie Fowler 65 68 70 67 16 270 $702,000
3 Harris English 68 67 71 66 272 $442,000
4 Danny Lee 67 66 67 73 273 $312,000
5 Boo Weekley 71 68 65 70 274 $260,000
T6 JB Holmes 73 67 68 67 275 $203,450
T6 John Huh 69 70 67 69 275 $203,450
T6 Shane Lowry 65 70 72 68 275 $203,450
T6 Bryce Molder 67 73 64 71 275 $203,450
T6 Will Wilcox 68 73 69 65 275 $203,450