Matsuyama wins in Phoenix after playoff

Japan’s Hideki Matsuyama triumphed at the Waste Management Phoenix Open for the second consecutive year after defeating Webb Simpson at the fourth play-off hole on Sunday at TPC Scottsdale.

Matsuyama won it after sinking a 10-foot birdie putt on the par-4 17th, the same hole where the 24-year-old beat Rickie Fowler exactly a year earlier.

The playoff came about after Simpson birdied the 15th, 17th and 18th holes to shoot the lowest round of the final day with a 64. Matsuyama closed out his round with three pars for a five-under par 66.

Overnight leader Byeong Hun An collapsed after making four bogeys on the back nine to card a 73 and finish in sixth place on 14 under.

Matsuyama’s victory was his second PGA title this season and fourth in total. The win was his fifth in the last three and a half months worldwide.

The playoff was a tight affair, with Matsuyama and Simpson hitting pars on the first three extra holes that saw them play the 18th twice and the 10th before heading over to the 17th.

In an interview after his victory, Matsuyama said he had loved playing in the party atmosphere.

“There’s nothing like it in golf,” Matsuyama said. “Playing in front of the number of fans and gallery this past week, great motivation.

“I just try to have fun with it, and at the same time, keep my focus.”

Simpson, who’s 64 was the best round of the day, said afterwards that Hideki was tough and played well.

“To shoot 7 under on Sunday, birdieing 17 and 18 is a great feeling, knowing I had to do it,” Simpson said. “But Hideki is a great player, obviously.

“I knew he’d be a tough competitor in the playoff. I wish I could have a couple of putts back and hit them a little harder.”

South Africa’s Louis Oosthuizen finished in third place at 16 under after shooting a 65 that included three birdies in the last five holes.

Rickie Fowler shot a 65 to finish at 15 under alongside J.J. Spaun.

Three-time winner Phil Mickelson shot a 71 that saw him finish tied for 16th at 10 under. It was an up-and-down round for the 1996, 2005 and 2013 winner that included six birdies (four on the front nine), four bogeys and a double on 17.

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