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History-maker Matsuyama storms to WGC victory as McIlroy finishes strongly

The Japanese golfer finished seven strokes clear of Henrik Stenson.

Matsuyama came out on top in a field which contained all of this year's major winners.
Matsuyama came out on top in a field which contained all of this year's major winners.
Image: Ng Han Guan

DOMINANT HIDEKI MATSUYAMA made history Sunday when he became the first player from Asia to win a World Golf Championships.

The 24-year-old from Japan left a world-class field, including Rory McIlroy and all four 2016 major winners, trailing in his wake as he finished seven strokes clear at the WGC-HSBC Champions in Shanghai.

The 24-year-old Japanese player also became the first from the continent to win “Asia’s Major” and he did it in style with a flawless final round of six-under par 66.

Matsuyama was just one shot shy of the record 72-hole score at Sheshan International Golf Club of 24-under par set by current US Open champion Dustin Johnson three years ago.

Matsuyama finished at 23-under par after four stunning rounds of 66, 65, 68 and 66 at the par-72 layout. British Open champions Henrik Stenson and Daniel Berger of the US were tied for second way back at 16-under par.

World number three Rory McIlroy on Sunday carded his second 66 of the week for yet another top-five finish as he took fourth place on 15-under par.

Matsuyama, whose total of 29 birdies for the week was just three short of the all-time US PGA Tour record of 32, remarkably did not card a bogey after the ninth hole of his second round on Friday, despite testing damp and windy conditions in the Chinese megacity.

The in-form 24-year-old is set to rise to as high as number six in the world following his victory for which he wins $1.62 million.

It caps a remarkable run in which Matsuyama has won the Japan Open, finished runner-up in the PGA Tour’s CIMB Classic in Malaysia and won the WGC-HSBC Champions in consecutive weeks.

Before that he had finished fifth in the US PGA Tour’s season-ending Tour Championships, won by McIlroy.

© – AFP 2016

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