Hideki Matsuyama has won the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational after firing the best round of his career – a nine-under 61 – and has thrust his name forward as one of the favourites to take out next week’s PGA Championship.
Matsuyama carded the best final round in four decades at Firestone Country Club to defeat Zach Johnson by five shots and claim his fifth PGA Tour victory.
The World No.3, who birdied his final three holes, has now won two World Golf Championships, having captured the HSBC Champions in Shanghai last year. And, despite a somewhat average record at Quail Hollow, should fancy his chances of becoming Japan’s first major champion in a week’s time.
“I haven’t really played well at Quail Hollow, but hopefully I can keep my game up and do well there,” the 25-year-old said. “All I can do is my best. I know a lot of us have tried from Japan to win majors. Hopefully someday it will happen.”
Meanwhile, Scott Hend entered the final round trailing by just one shot and played in the penultimate group alongside Matsuyama. But the 43-year-old, who represented Australia at the Rio Olympics last year, signed for a disappointing three-over 73 and slipped to a share of 10th place.
Adam Scott finished a shot further back but collected his best finish in two months, tied-13th.
While Jason Day, who looked promising entering the weekend, fell away to a share of 24th after failing to break par on either day.