Hideki Matsuyama fires course record 61 to run away with WGC-Bridgestone title

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Hideki Matsuyama fires course record 61 to run away with WGC-Bridgestone title

PGA Tour

Hideki Matsuyama fires course record 61 to run away with WGC-Bridgestone title

Here is a recap of the final round of the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, played at Firestone Country Club’s South Course in Akron, Ohio:

WINNER: Mark another one off for Hideki Matsuyama, who continues to win in sensational style.

The Japanese star completed his second WGC win of the season Sunday at Firestone, firing a brilliant bogey-free 9-under 61 to finish 16 under overall and cruise to a five-shot victory at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational. Matsuyama just had it going all day and never appeared out of sorts. Despite a reported brutal pre-round range session, he ended up not only playing well but tying the course record (held by Tiger Woods, Sergio Garcia and Jose Maria Olazabal).

As Matsuyama proved, it only matters what you take to the course. What Matsuyama brought was an early chip-in eagle at the second to get himself going. Then there was a birdie at the third and he was on his way to a front-nine 5-under 30. That moved him from two back at the start of the day to firmly in the lead. He didn’t stop there, though. Matsuyama birdied 13, 16 and 17 to reach 15 under. By the time he reached the 72nd hole, Matsuyama had a four-shot lead.

Then with a tie for the course record within reach, Matsuyama knocked one to 7 feet and rolled in the birdie putt. That’s three straight birdies to close and seven overall with an eagle on the day. (Fun fact: Matsuyama was actually in Woods’ group when Tiger shot a 61 in the second round in 2013 at Firestone. Interesting coincidence.)

The 25-year-old now has five PGA Tour wins, and three this season. His other WGC this season came in a seven-shot triumph in October at the WGC-HSBC Champions. It seems he can only win these things by large margins. Matsuyama is still searching for his first major, but his resume is growing. A major only appears a matter of time, maybe even a week away.

JUST MISSED: Zach Johnson started the day tied for lead, shot 68 and got waxed. Tough break, Zach. Still, his 11-under total earned him a runner-up finish. Charley Hoffman finishes in solo third at 10 under. Thomas Pieters, Johnson’s 54-hole co-leader, finishes fourth at 8 under.

SHOT OF THE DAY: This was the start of it all. Matsuyama chips in for eagle at the par-5 second in what would turn out to be a stunning final round.

QUOTABLE: “I really wasn’t sure of my swing today.” – Hideki Matsuyama, said through a translator of a round where he shot 9-under 61

SHORT SHOTS: Rory McIlroy continues to play well, finishing in a tie for fifth at 7 under after a final-round 69. … Rickie Fowler goes 67-66 on the weekend and sneaks into solo ninth at 6 under. … Jordan Spieth closes in 68 and finishes T-13 at 4 under. … Dustin Johnson, the World No. 1, goes 68-66 on the weekend to place T-17 at 3 under. … Phil Mickelson shoots 67 to finish T-39 at 2 over.

UP NEXT: We’ve got the PGA Championship on tap. Golfweek will have a full crew out at Quail Hollow that will give you the most comprehensive coverage of the year’s final major. Follow our coverage at Golfweek.com and on our Facebook and Twitter feeds.

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