Dramatic win for Matsuyama at Phoenix

Hideki Matsuyama wins after Rickie Fowler twice finds water on the 17th

Hideki Matsuyama poses with the trophy having won the Waste Management Phoenix Open at TPC Scottsdale on February 7, 2016. Credit: Getty Images
Hideki Matsuyama poses with the trophy having won the Waste Management Phoenix Open at TPC Scottsdale on February 7, 2016. Credit: Getty Images
(Image credit: Getty Images)

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 Feb 4-7 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

Roderick Easdale

Contributing Writer Roderick is the author of the critically acclaimed comic golf novel, Summer At Tangents. Golf courses and travel are Roderick’s particular interests. He writes travel articles and general features for the magazine, travel supplement and website. He also compiles the magazine's crossword. He is a member of Trevose Golf & Country Club and has played golf in around two dozen countries. Cricket is his other main sporting love. He is also the author of five non-fiction books, four of which are still in print: The Novel Life of PG Wodehouse; The Don: Beyond Boundaries; Wally Hammond: Gentleman & Player and England’s Greatest Post-War All Rounder.