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Seamus Power breaks into top 50 in the world after finishing in tie for third in Hawaii

A great week for the Waterford man at the Sony Open, he finished four shots behind winner Hideki Matsuyama.

Seamus Power waves after making birdie on the first green during the final round of the Sony Open.
Seamus Power waves after making birdie on the first green during the final round of the Sony Open.
Image: Matt York

IRELAND’S SEAMUS POWER finished joint-third at the Sony Open after a final day 65 in Hawaii, and broke into the top 50 in the world rankings for the first time.

The Waterford man produced an impressive closing round of five-under, signing off four shots short of the winner, Hideki Matsuyama, and on level terms with American, Kevin Kisner.

Power finished with a five-foot birdie putt on the 18th — one of six carded on Sunday, two of those coming in his last two holes, along with just one bogey.

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The 34-year-old had been in a tie for third before the final round as he stayed in contention for his second PGA Tour title, though that’s where he clocked off after an impressive showing in which he recorded rounds of 63, 68, 65 and 65 respectively at the Waialae Country Club in Honolulu.

This is a massive result for Power, who moved into the world’s top-50, having been ranked 63rd before Hawaii.

434th this time last year, if he is still in the top 50 at the end of March, he’ll be in the Masters.

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At the very top of the leaderboard, Matsuyama eagled the first playoff hole to come-from-behind and beat Russell Henley for his eighth PGA Tour victory, lifting him into a tie for the most wins ever by an Asian-born player.

Masters champion Matsuyama sank a three-foot putt on the final hole for a dramatic win as he overcame a five-shot deficit Sunday with a stunning back-nine rally.

He continued his storybook play of late recording his second win of the season and third in his last 17 starts.

He is now tied with KJ Choi of South Korea for the most career PGA Tour wins by an Asia-born player with eight.

He helped seal the win in the playoff with a dramatic 277-yard, three-wood shot from the middle of the fairway on the par-five 18 that landed just under three feet from the pin.

“I got on a roll and I am glad it came out this way,” said Matsuyama, who has shot 13 straight rounds in the 60s. “I am over the moon.”

Matsuyama kept bogeys off his card Sunday, finishing with seven birdies in regulation for his second straight 63. He shot 66 and 65 on Thursday and Friday.

Matsuyama was pleased to follow in the footsteps of Isao Aoki, who became the first Japanese player to win on the PGA Tour in 1983 at the Sony Open when he holed out from the fairway for an eagle.

“I am really happy this is the first tournament that a Japanese player won,” said Matsuyama, who had a massive gallery following all week in Hawaii.

Henley won the first of his three USPGA titles in his tour debut at the Sony Open in 2013.

He began the fourth round with a two-stroke lead and got off to a hot start. The American made four birdies and an eagle on the front nine to extend his lead to five shots.

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But Henley failed to hold off the charging Matsuyama on the back nine despite making just one bogey in his round. Henley had a chance to win it with an eight-foot putt on 18 in regulation but missed.

He found the bunker off the tee on the 18th hole and did the same off the tee in the playoff. After a decent second playoff shot, Henley sailed his third shot over the back of the green which set the stage for Matsuyama to easily win it with an eagle.

“I am disappointed to lose,” said Henley. “It stings, but I played some great golf. I just got to keep chugging.”

– © AFP 2022

- Additional reporting by Emma Duffy.

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