Hideki Matsuyama claimed his first PGA Tour triumph with a win at the Memorial in a dramatic playoff against Kevin Na.
The Japanese star, on the rising stars on the tour, fended off the American on the first extra hole to claim victory in a gripping climax to the tournament.
In what was one of the most unpredictable finishes to a competition in recent times a whole host of players fell away in the closing stages to allow Matsuyama and Na to fight it out for victory – with the former coming out on top.
It is misleading to simply attribute Matsuyama’s win to other’s failings, though. The 22-year-old came through the toughest test of nerve in golf and for that should be heavily commended.
It is the first time in 22 years that the Memorial has required a playoff to decide to winner, but it felt like a fitting end to a day that was as dramatic as this Sunday in Ohio was.
Indeed, the fact that it even came down to a playoff was incredible – with the Japanese man having a two shot lead over the rest of the field before inexplicably putting his tee shot at the par three 16th in the water and going on to make a five.
He wasn’t made to pay for this error, which came about due his lack of experience in these sort of situations, however, as he made par on the first extra hole to secure the victory, with Na still required to make a 10 foot putt for bogey.
Matsuyama’s round was particularly up-and-down with a lot of brilliance and some naivety shown in his round of a three-under-par 69.
In-fact, it was encapsulated on the 18th – where he was required to make birdie to force the playoff. His drive went straight into the rough – making Matsuyama break his club – before a brilliant approach shot saved him and he made the required putt for three.
It was his eighth birdie of a day that saw many players come and go.
The overnight leader, Bubba Watson, was the highest profile of those and he had looked the likely winner right up until a bogey on the 14th was followed by a seven on the par five 15th to leave him one shot behind the leading pair and cursing his driving, which was poor throughout.
Watson had scored below 70 in every round of the tournament up until today, but his level par 72 today put him out of contention and the frustration was etched on his face when he finished his round.
There were rather contrasting emotions visible on Matsuyama, though, and he will be able to celebrate a dramatic win on the tour, which is likely to be the first of many.
Write for GiveMeSport! Sign-up to the GMS Writing Academy here: http://gms.to/1a2u3KU
DISCLAIMER: This article has been written by a member of the GiveMeSport Writing Academy and does not represent the views of GiveMeSport.com or SportsNewMedia. The views and opinions expressed are solely that of the author credited at the top of this article. GiveMeSport.com and SportsNewMedia do not take any responsibility for the content of its contributors.