Golf roundup: Hideki Matsuyama sets records in victory; Baylor grads finish 2nd and 7th

AP photo by Ryan Sun / Japan's Hideki Matsuyama celebrates his Genesis Invitational win on the 18th green at Riviera Country Club on Sunday in Los Angeles. It was the ninth victory of his PGA Tour career, breaking the record for the most by an Asian-born player.
AP photo by Ryan Sun / Japan's Hideki Matsuyama celebrates his Genesis Invitational win on the 18th green at Riviera Country Club on Sunday in Los Angeles. It was the ninth victory of his PGA Tour career, breaking the record for the most by an Asian-born player.

LOS ANGELES — The conversation began seven years ago when Japanese star Hideki Matsuyama earned his fourth PGA Tour victory to pass Shigeki Maruyama, his mentor.

Maruyama told him the ultimate target was nine tour wins, which would break the record for most by an Asian-born player.

Matsuyama had little reason to believe that would come Sunday at Riviera Country Club.

Six shots behind to start the final round of the Genesis Invitational, Matsuyama delivered a record performance — 9-under-par 62, the lowest closing round by a winner at Riviera — to achieve the record that really mattered.

He now has nine PGA Tour wins, one better than K.J. Choi of South Korea. Matsuyama won for the first time since the Sony Open in January 2022.

"Reaching nine wins was one of my big goals, passing K.J. Choi," the 31-year-old Matsuyama said after his three-shot victory. "After my eighth win, I've been struggling with my back injury. There were a lot of times where I felt I was never going to win again. I struggled reaching to top 10, but I'm really happy that I was able to win today."

Matsuyama finished the 72-hole tournament at 17-under 267 for a three-shot victory over Luke List (68) and Will Zalatoris (69). Patrick Cantlay (72) and Xander Schauffele (70), best friends playing in the final group, faded in the middle of the back nine and tied for fourth with Canada's Adam Hadwin (65).

List was one of two Baylor School graduates in the field and one of two in the top 10 as well, with Harris English alone in seventh at 13 under after closing with a 69.

List, who had 200-plus starts on the PGA Tour before breaking through for his first win at the Farmers Insurance Open in January 2022, was trying to earn what would have been his third triumph in as many years, having won the Sanderson Farms Championship last October. His tie for second at the third PGA Tour signature event of the year netted a payout of $1.8 million.

English was seeking his fifth career win and first since June 2021, but no one was catching Matsuyama on Sunday.

"Once I saw Hideki finishing at 17 under, it was a bit of a deflater, I'm sure, for the rest of the field," Schauffele said. "But hats off to him. It's incredible. He's done it a few times now, shooting lights out on Sunday."

  photo  AP photo by Ryan Kang / Baylor School graduate Luke List hits from the 10th tee at Riviera Country Club during the final round of the PGA Tour's Genesis Invitational on Sunday in Los Angeles.

This was an exquisite performance by Matsuyama, second only to his 61 in the final round of the 2017 Bridgestone Invitational on a day no one else shot lower than 65 in that World Golf Championship event.

Matsuyama was part of a five-way tie for the lead on the back nine Sunday until he hit a beautiful fade with a 6-iron from 187 yards into a breeze on the tough 15th hole that carried the bunker and rolled out to eight inches for a tap-in birdie.

"Perfect shot," he said.

On the par-3 16th, he dangled the club after his tee shot because it was a few yards right of where he had been aiming, only to see it roll to six inches from the cup for another birdie. He added a third straight birdie with a chip down the slope on the par-5 17th to just more than three feet out.

Matsuyama lightly pumped his fist — a rare show of emotion for him — when his four-foot par putt with a sharp right-to-left break dropped in for a 62. He broke the record held by Doug Tewell, who shot a 63 in the final round to win in 1986.

The only downer for Matsuyama was not being able to pose with Tiger Woods, the tournament host who had to withdraw Friday with a bad case of the flu.

"To win in this tournament was one of my goals ever since I became pro," said Matsuyama, who in 2017 became the first Asian-born player to win the Masters. "After Tiger became the host, that goal became a lot bigger. A little disappointed that I wasn't able to take a picture with Tiger today."

It was the third time Matsuyama shot a 63 or lower on Sunday to win, most recently at the Sony Open two years ago. Maruyama sent him a text that day in Hawaii, reminding him of their talk about breaking Choi's record.

Matsuyama said winning never entered his mind when he arrived at the course Sunday. Cantlay had a two-shot lead and had not taken too many wrong steps. But he was feeling a little ill, and the golf was a struggle.

Cantlay hit only four fairways and nine greens. He missed a 12-foot birdie putt on the easy opening par 5, then didn't have another look at birdie until the sixth hole. He made a birdie putt from 50 feet on the 18th for a 72.

Cantlay played with Schauffele, who struggled just as much. Schauffele got back in the mix with a tough birdie on the par-4 10th and by holing a bunker shot for an eagle on the par-5 11th. He bogeyed the next three holes and rallied at the end for a 70.

List set the early pace. Zalatoris took the lead in the middle of the back nine. At one point there was a five-way tie for the lead heading to the tough stretch on the back nine. And then Matsuyama took over with three straight birdies.

The win was worth $4 million from the $20 million purse and moves him to No. 20 in the Official World Golf Ranking with the entire major season ahead of him. Matsuyama now has 18 wins worldwide, eight on the Japan Golf Tour and the unofficial Hero World Challenge, also hosted by Woods.

At least he has a picture from that day.

  photo  AP photo by Ryan Sun / Baylor School graduate Harris English waves to fans after his putt on the fourth green at Riviera Country Club during the final round of the PGA Tour's Genesis Invitational on Sunday in Los Angeles.

Stop right there

NAPLES, Fla. — Stephen Ames captured his seventh PGA Tour Champions victory on Sunday without hitting another shot when the final round of the Chubb Classic was canceled because of a massive storm system moving across Florida.

Tournament officials had already reduced the final round at Tiburon Golf Club from 18 holes to a planned nine until a forecast of the storm getting stronger led to the cancellation.

Ames shot an 8-under 64 on the Black Course during the second round Saturday — building a three-shot lead over Rocco Mediate — and he was declared the winner. The 59-year-old Ames, who was born in Trindad and Tobago but plays under the Canadian flag, now has five wins in his past 24 starts on the 50-and-older tour.

It was the first time since the 2021 Insperity Invitational in Houston that a PGA Tour Champions event, typically 54 holes, was reduced to 36 because of weather.

However, it was the second time in three weeks the final round was canceled at a PGA Tour-sanctioned event, this time on a different coast. A week earlier in California, the Pebble Beach Pro-Am was washed out with Wyndham Clark declared the 54-hole winner in what was supposed to be a 72-hole tournament.

Ames finished his 36 holes at 13-under 131. Mediate, who opened with a 63, was runner-up after a 71 on Saturday, with a quartet of players sharing third at 9 under: England's Paul Broadhurst, Germany's Alex Cejka, South Africa's Ernie Els and Australia's Mark Hensby.

Steven Alker, who had won the past two events dating to the end of last season, wound up in a tie for 15th.

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