Hideki Matsuyama earned his first victory in America and validation as one of golf’s young stars Sunday with birdie on the 18th hole to force a playoff and a 10-foot par putt on the first extra to win the Memorial in Dublin, Ohio.
In a tournament that Masters champions Bubba Watson and Adam Scott threw away on a wild back nine, Matsuyama looked certain to join them.
He lost the lead by dropping three shots on two holes, and he didn’t look like a winner when he pushed his drive toward the bunkers on the final hole. Lightly slamming his driver to the turf in disgust, the head broke off. Matsuyama followed with an approach to just outside 5 feet for birdie and a 3-under 69.
That forced a playoff with Kevin Na, who finished his round of 64 about two hours earlier.
Matsuyama chose not to replace his broken driver in the playoff, and his 3-wood went into the bunker. Na drove left into the creek and still had about 10 feet for bogey on the 18th hole in the playoff when Matsuyama made his par putt. The 22-year-old from Japan pumped his fist as the ball was a few inches from dropping.
Watson, who started the final round with a one-shot lead, was still in control until a couple of wild tee shots – one into deep rough on the 14th that led to bogey, and one so far right on the par-5 15th that it went over the trees and into a neighborhood, far out-of-bounds. That led to double bogey and he never recovered. Watson closed with a 72 and finished one shot out of the playoff.
Scott had a share of the lead after 11 holes and was poised for his second straight PGA Tour win. But he put his tee shot into the water on the par-3 12th for double bogey, took two shots to get out of a bunker on the 14th for bogey, and then dropped another shot at the 15th when his wedge hit the pin and caromed back into the fairway. He closed with a 71 and tied for fourth with Chris Kirk (68).
Stacy Lewis won the ShopRite LPGA Classic to take the top spot in the world ranking from Inbee Park, finishing with a 4-under 67 for a six-stroke victory at Galloway Township, New Jersey.
No. 1 for four weeks early last year, Lewis ended Park’s 59-week run in the top spot.
Lewis finished at 16-under 197 on Seaview’s Bay Course and earned $225,000 for her second victory of the year and 10th overall. Also the 2012 winner at Seaview, she won the North Texas LPGA Shootout last month after finishing second six times in her previous 16 events since winning the Women’s British Open in August.
Christina Kim was second after a 72.
Tom Pernice Jr. birdied the second hole of a playoff with Doug Garwood to win the Champions Tour’s Principal Charity Classic in Des Moines, Iowa.
Pernice won for the third time on the 50-and-over tour, closing with a 3-under 69 to match Garwood at 12-under 204 at Wakonda Club.
Thailand’s Thongchai Jaidee won the Nordea Masters, beating Scotland’s Stephen Gallacher and France’s Victor Dubuisson with a birdie on the first hole of a playoff at Malmo, Sweden.