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Matsuyuma triumphs at Bahamas

The weekend was all about Tiger Woods’ muchanticipated return to a course but it was Japanese Hideki Matsuyuma who clinched the 2016 Hero World Challenge Golf title at Nassau and immediately conceded that he was honoured to win a tournament hosted by the legendary golfer.

Matsuyuma triumphs at Bahamas
Hideki Matsuyuma

Returning from a 15-month layoff, the longest of his illustrious career, Woods 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. The American had quite a few 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 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. Woods hit three consecutive birdies starting on the seventh hole in the final round, but followed up with two bogeys and a double bogey. The 24-year-old Matsuyuma finished at 18 under after a 73 on the final day of this unofficial PGA Tour event. For Matsuyuma, it was his fourth win in his last five outings, including the WGC-HSBC Champions in China. He saw off the challenge of Sweden’s Rio Olympics silver medallist Henrik Stenson by two strokes despite shooting a poor 39 on the back nine on the final day. Matsuyama dominated the event throughout 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. 

“I can’t say that I played well today, but I did win Tiger’s tournament and what a great honour that is,” Matsuyuma told reporters after his triumph. 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.” On Woods, 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 in almost every tournament,” said the Japanese.

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