Matsuyama blows away rivals in WGC win

JAMES WESTMAN

JAMES WESTMAN

Matsuyama kick-started his round with an eagle at Firestone Country Club's par-five second, where he chipped in from just off the green.

Matsuyama birdied his last three holes to card a nine-under-par final round of 61 - the lowest in four decades at Firestone County Club - to claim a five-shot triumph over American Zach Johnson.

Hoffman was three shots behind Hideki Matsuyama with only three holes to go, and while caddie Brett Waldman suggested he lay up on the par-5, Hoffman was adamant that he needed to go for it and play for the win after coming up short several times this year, including a playoff loss last week at the RBC Canadian Open.

He added seven birdies and turned the final round into a one-man exhibition, offering a timely reminder of why he is likely to become the first Japanese player to win a men's major.

"In fact, I played with Tiger four years ago when he shot 61, so I knew 61 was the number today", Matsuyama said. I couldn't believe anyone could shoot a 61 on this course. "I did hit some good shots, but I was nervous all the way around because I really wasn't sure of my swing today".

Matsuyama stays at No. 3 in the world, though the 25-year-old from Japan takes plenty of momentum - and pressure - into the PGA Championship next week.

Charley Hoffman (66) took outright third at 10-under, while overnight co-leader Thomas Pieters (71) slumped to solo fourth at eight-under.

"We're working well out there today and I'm excited to be with him again next week", McIlroy said. "To do it today is a dream come true", said Matsuyama.

British Open champion Jordan Spieth, who will be pursuing a career Grand Slam at the PGA Championship, closed with a 68 that left him in a group sharing 13th on 276.

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