Lightning doesn’t strike twice, unless you’re Hideki Matsuyama winning a four-hole playoff at the Waste Management Phoenix Open for the second year running.
The 24 year old defied the odds with a birdie on the fourth sudden-death hole at TPC Scottsdale to edge out Webb Simpson after both players finished at 17 under par.
‘It was a struggle, especially that playoff,’ said the new champion. ‘I just had faith and believed that there was going to be a chance to win it. Luckily, I made it.’
Matsuyama who’s now won three times in his last seven tournaments, took top spot in the FedEx Cup while remaining at fifth in the World Ranking.
‘It’s been a good run,’ he said. ‘I’m going to ride it as long as I can. It’s tough to compare how I play and the results. The results have been really good these last few months, and hopefully we can just keep it going.’
‘It’s very difficult to continue playing golf at a very high level,’ he added. ‘There is ups and downs, especially when I’m playing bad or having a bad day. What I’m trying to do now is to work hard, correct what I’m doing wrong, and continue on.’
Louis Oosthuizen closed out Sunday with three birdies in the last four holes for sole third, one shot outside the two-man showdown for the title.
Compleat Golfer’s Playing Editor broke 70 in all four rounds, topped off with a final-round 65, and rose five places to 24th in the world. The 2010 Open Champion, inspired by the huge crowds of Arizona, shook off the rust from a long holiday break.
‘The crowds were magnificent this week. It was an unreal feeling once you got on the 16th tee. I think everyone this week probably hit the ball further on that hole with the adrenaline pumping,’ he said in reference to the stadium par-three.