Hideki Matsuyama rallies to win Sony Open
Japan’s Hideki Matsuyama eagled the first playoff hole Sunday and won the Sony Open at Honolulu, after Russell Henley squandered a five-shot lead.
Henley was 6-under-par for the day and 24 under for the tournament through nine holes at Waialae Country Club before the field started to close in. Henley still had a one-shot lead at 18 while playing in the final pairing with Matsuyama.
But while Henley had a par on the final hole of regulation play, Matsuyama had a two-putt birdie to force the playoff. Playing the 18th hole one more time, Matsuyama put his 277-yard second shot within three feet of the hole and made the putt to earn a victory that he held in high regard.
“I’m really happy. This is the first tournament that a Japanese player won on the PGA Tour (since) when Isao Aoki won here,” Matsuyama said through a translator on the Golf Network broadcast. “To follow him up, I’m over the moon.”
Matsuyama and Henley each finished at 23-under-par 257 to earn their spots in the playoff.
Matsuyama, last year’s Masters champion, shot his second consecutive 7-under-par 63 to rally for the victory. He started the day two shots behind Henley, whose 5-under 65 was two shots better than his third-round score.
Matsuyama was 4 under over his final nine holes, capped by his birdie at 18. After four birdies and an eagle on the front nine, Henley was 1 over on the back with a bogey at No. 11.
In addition to winning on the course where Aoki made history, Matsuyama also tied South Korea’s K.J. Choi for most career victories by an Asian-born player. It was Matsuyama’s eighth career victory and his third over his last 17 starts.
Kevin Kisner (64) and Ireland’s Seamus Power each finished tied for third place at 19 under. Michael Thompson and Lucas Glover finished another shot back tied for fifth place.
Defending champion and first-round leader Kevin Na shot a 2-under 70 on Sunday and finished at 13 under for the tournament, in a seven-way tie for 20th place.
–Field Level Media