Hideki Matsuyama hits shot of the year so far to win Sony Open

Hideki Matsuyama lands his eighth PGA Tour title with a moment of magic at the first extra hole.

Andy Roberts's picture
Mon, 17 Jan 2022

Hideki Matsuyama hits SHOT OF THE YEAR to win Sony Open

Hideki Matsuyama overcame a five-shot deficit on Russell Henley with nine holes to play and then defeated him in a playoff on the first extra hole with the shot of the year so far to land his eighth PGA Tour title at the Sony Open. 

Matsuyama, 29, proved his major class when firing his second shot into the par-5 18th from outside of 270 yards to within two feet of the pin for eagle and to rapturous appaluse from the Hawaiian fans. 

Henley found trouble off the tee and then sailed his approach shot well over the back of the green, and he would go on to make bogey.

Matsuyama stepped up to his ball and tapped it home for eagle to win the tournament. 

WATCH MATSUYAMA'S MAGIC HERE

 

 

At the 1983 Sony Open, Japan's Isao Aoki became the nation's first winner on the PGA Tour.

Incredibly, he also made eagle on the final hole to win the tournament - watch below. 

Matsuyama, who now moves to No.1 in the FedEx Cup standings, had not forgotten about that moment. 

"I'm really happy," said Matsuyama, aided by his interpreter on the 18th green.

"This is the first tournament that a Japanese player won on the PGA Tour when Isao Aoki won here so to follow him up, I am just over the moon."

WATCH: MATSUYAMA HOLES UNBELIEVABLE FLOP SHOT AT THE SONY OPEN

 

In normal time, Matsuyama two-putted the par-5 18th for birdie to shoot a final round of 7-under 63 and tie his playing partner Henley (who shot 65) on 23-under par for 72 holes. 

Henley led by two shots heading into the final round and he would extend his cushion to five shots when converting a three footer for eagle at the par-5 9th. 

But as we all know anything can happen in golf, and it very much did as Henley failed to record a single birdie on the back nine as Matsuyama took full advantage.

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Despite standing five back at the turn, Matsuyama quickly trimmed that lead down to two shots with birdies at 10 and 11, aided by a bogey from Henley on 11, and he then found himself within one shot when draining an 18 footer for birdie at the 15th.

The reigning Masters champion had a seven footer for birdie on the 16th that would have drawn him level but he would fail to convert.

Henley and Matsuyama both made par at the par-3 17th, meaning Henley maintained a slender one-shot lead down the par-5 18th. 

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Matsuyama smashed a drive over 300 yards into the semi rough leaving 210 yards to the pin, while Henley sent his tee shot into the fairway bunker, some 270 yards out. 

Henley splashed a wedge out of the bunker and into the fairway, leaving the door ajar for Matsuyama who would send a mid-iron into the heart of the green to some 50 feet. 

With wedge in hand from 125 yards, Henley fired his shot down the flag to eight feet - just as he had been doing most of the week. 

Matsuyama two-putted for his birdie to match Henley's 23-under par total.

It left Henley with a golden chance to win the tournament, but his putt rolled past the right side of the cup and he would make par to force a sudden-death playoff. 

Unfortunately that missed putt would prove costly for Henley as Matsuyama produced his moment of magic in the playoff and run out the victor. 

From just outside of 270 yards, Matsuyama flew his 3-wood from the fairway straight down the pin to two feet for eagle to wrap up his eighth career win on the PGA Tour.

It also marks a second win in his last three starts following victory on home soil at the ZOZO Championship in late October. 

Henley may have won three times on the PGA Tour but his last victory now dates back to the 2017 Houston Open.

The American has only converted just one of six 54-hole leads or co-leads into victories on the PGA Tour, which is not a record he will be too fond of now. 

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Elsewhere on the leaderboard, Kevin Kisner continued his solid recent form to finish tied third with Ireland's Seamus Power on 19-under par.

Michael Thompson and Lucas Glover performed admirably to finish 18-under par, with Keith Mitchell, Matt Kuchar, Adam Svensson and Scotland's Russell Knox a further shot back on 17-under par.

SONY OPEN FINAL LEADERBOARD

-23 R Henley (US), H Matsuyama (Jap)*
-19 K Kisner (US), S Power (Ire)

*Matsuyama wins with an eagle at the first extra hole

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