GOLF

Hideki Matsuyama wins Phoenix Open playoff again

Feb 5, 2017, 5:55 PM
Hideki Matsuyama holds the champion's trophy after the Waste Management Phoenix Open golf tournamen...

Hideki Matsuyama holds the champion's trophy after the Waste Management Phoenix Open golf tournament, Sunday, Feb. 5, 2017, in Scottsdale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Matt York)

(AP Photo/Matt York)

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Hideki Matsuyama won the Waste Management Phoenix Open on the fourth hole of a playoff for the second straight year, outlasting Webb Simpson on Sunday at TPC Scottsdale.

Matsuyama won with a 10-foot birdie putt on the short par-4 17th, the same hole where the 24-year-old Japanese star finished off Rickie Fowler a year ago.

Matsuyama closed with a 5-under 66, parring the final three holes to match Simpson at 17-under 267. Simpson birdied three of the last four for a 64, the best round of the day.

The tournament drew an estimated 58,654 fans Sunday to shatter the weekly record with 655,434. The previous mark of 618,365 was set last year. A record 204,906 packed the grounds Saturday.

Matsuyama took advantage of third-round leader Byeong Hun An’s back-nine collapse. Three strokes ahead of Matsuyama, An bogeyed the first two holes on the back nine and closed with two more. The South Korean player had a 73 to finish sixth at 14 under.

Matsuyama won his second PGA Tour title of the season and fourth overall. He has won five worldwide events in the last 3 1/2 months, also taking the WGC-HSBC Champions in China, two events in Japan and Tiger Woods’ Hero World Challenge.

He’s the sixth player to successfully defend a title in the event and the first to do it at TPC Scottsdale. The other five are Hall of Famers Ben Hogan (1946-47), Jimmy Demaret (1949-50), Lloyd Mangrum (1952-53), Arnold Palmer (1961-63) and Johnny Miller (1974-75). The Japanese player also is the first to win a playoff in an event two straight years since Nick Faldo at the Masters in 1989-90.

Matsuyama and Simpson matched pars on the first three extra holes, playing the par-4 18th twice and the par-4 10th before heading to 17. Simpson’s drive on 332-yard hole ended up on the right edge of the green, with a bunker blocking his path to the hole. Instead of trying to hit a wedge over the bunker, he putted and left himself a 25-footer that burned the right edge.

Simpson and Matsuyama each eagled the par-5 third, with Simpson hitting a 272-yard shot to 5 feet, and Matsuyama a 254-yarder to 2 1/2 feet.

Louis Oosthuizen finished a stroke back after a 65. The South African birdied Nos. 14, 15 and 17, then hit in the right bunker on 18 and scrambled to save par.

Fowler also shot a 65 to match J.J. Spaun (67) at 15 under.

Phil Mickelson tied for 16th at 10 under after a 71. He made a run with four front-nine birdies, then played the back nine in 4 over with a double bogey on 17, four bogeys and two birdies. The 46-year-old former Arizona State star played his 100th round in the event he won in 1996, 2005 and 2013.

Fellow former Sun Devils player Jon Rahm had a 70 to also finish at 10 under. Last week, the Spaniard won at Torrey Pines for his first PGA Tour victory.

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