Hideki Matsuyama beats Rickie Fowler in play-off to win Phoenix Open
By Mark Ashenden
Last Updated: 10/02/16 9:34am
Japan's Hideki Matsuyama parred the fourth extra hole to clinch an unlikely play-off victory over American Rickie Fowler at the Phoenix Open on Sunday.
Matsuyama went birdie-birdie over the final two holes of regulation at TPC Scottsdale to force the play-off as he and Fowler had matching 67s for a 14-under-par 270, two strokes clear of American Harris English.
Fowler had a two shot lead on the 17th tee of the final round, but he was to rue opting for the driver instead of his three wood. His ball hit the down slope at the short par four and ended up in the water for the eighth time in his career on this hole. A bogey for Fowler and a birdie for Matsuyama had them tied on 14-under-par heading down the last.
Two good drives down the fairway, and it was Rickie who looked to have the advantage as the American hit his ball to around six feet. A confident long putt from Matsuyama forced Fowler to make a clutch putt of his own to force the play-off.
They opened the sudden death play-off by playing the par-four 18th twice, matching each other first with par and then birdie, before continuing at the par-four 10th.
A wayward drive from Fowler in to the rough on the third play-off hole put the world number four on the back foot, and he followed up his bad drive by sculling his second through the green.
Mastuyama, whose drive was comfortably on the fairway, was unable to exploit Fowler's mistake and saw his own effort fly past the hole to the back of the green. They pair both managed pars to send the match to a fourth play-off hole.
The play-off finally ended at the par-four 17th, where Fowler drove into a water hazard for the second time in barely an hour and could not save par. Despite taking his three-wood, Fowler knew it was off-line from the start and after a lackluster chip his par putt rolled past the right hand side of the hole.
Matsuyama had the luxury of two-putting from five feet for his second victory on the PGA Tour, following the 2014 Memorial.
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