Matsuyama beats Fowler in playoff to win Phoenix Open.
Hideki Matsuyama took advantage of a late collapse from Rickie Fowler to triumph in the Waste Management Phoenix Open on Sunday. Fowler was the man to beat on the back nine, but he blew a two-shot lead on the 317-yard 17th, and Matsuyama won out in a four-hole playoff.
A record crowd of 201,003 attended the event at TPC Scottsdale’s Stadium Course on Saturday and a further 65,330 turned out a day later to see Japan’s Matsuyama claim his second PGA Tour title. Fowler will be left to rue a poor finish, which robbed him of the chance to secure a fifth title in less than twelve months.
The American was the outright leader when he came to the 17th, but he blasted his driver into the water after overshooting the green. He made amends by birdieing the final hole with a fine 10-foot putt, but Matsuyama kept his hopes alive by sinking an 18 footer to send the tournament to a playoff.
Both players shot 4-under par, 67s on the final day and it looked like they would not be separated by the additional four holes late on Sunday. Fowler tugged a three-wood into the lake on the 10th hole and Matsuyama had the luxury of finishing with two putts from a short distance to win.
23-year-old Katsuyama said: “Rickie opened the door for me, and I was able to walk through it.” Fowler added: “This one hurts. I felt like I had it. The hard part is having all my friends and family and grandpa and my dad who haven’t seen me win.”
Fowler’s runner up finish was enough to consolidate his position at number five in the US Ryder Cup 2016 rankings, which are currently headed by Jordan Spieth. Last week’s PGA Tour winner Brandt Snedeker moved into second on the list after a tied for 33rd finish in Arizona.