SHANGHAI – Hideki Matsuyama was left to reflect on his disappointing World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions campaign as he watched England’s Justin Rose romp to the tournament win on Sunday.
While Rose was jubilant after turning an eight-stroke deficit into a two-stroke win, there was only despair for defending champion Matsuyama who failed to break par in any of his four rounds, leaving him languishing in a tie for 50th at 4-over after a final-day even-par 72.
Matsuyama became the first Japanese to win on the WGC series with an emphatic seven-stroke victory at this tournament last year. But 74s in the first two rounds put paid to his hopes of defending his title in his last PGA Tour event of 2017.
“These results are frustrating,” said Matsuyama. “I’ve learned through trial and error to deliver good results. But things are getting worse so it was a good experience for me to try out what I have over four days here.”
The 25-year-old world No. 4 added, “I honestly wanted to win. I prepared well but when I came here I thought I had to change something about my golf so this can’t be helped.”
Rose capitalized on a historic final-round meltdown by world No. 1 Dustin Johnson to snatch victory. The Rio Olympic champion carded a 5-under 67 to reach a 14-under 274 tournament total, overcoming a late front-nine swoon which included three bogeys in four holes to close with five birdies on the homeward tour.
Johnson, who started the day with a six-shot cushion, collapsed with a five-bogey, birdie-free final 18, sharing second place with fellow American and U.S. champion Brooks Koepka and Sweden’s major winner Henrik Stenson.
“It’s unbelievable,” Rose told pgatour.com. “We all know the position DJ (Johnson) was in, and I think today was the kind of day that the leader probably didn’t want. Well, you want a six-shot lead any time, but this is the kind of day where that kind of swing is possible.”
Daisuke Kataoka was the best performer among the Japanese contingent, carding a final-day 72 to finish at 4-under, tied for 15th. Hideto Tanihara had a 69 to finish in a tie for 20th one stroke back of his countryman.
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