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Matsuyama’s final-round 62 snatches Genesis Invitational glory

Hideki Matsuyama fired a stunning nine-under-par final round to emerge from the chasing pack and clinch victory at the Genesis Invitational on Sunday.

The Japanese golfer had begun the day lying tied for seventh and six shots back on overnight leader Patrick Cantlay but produced a flawless performance, which included nine birdies, to become the first player in tournament history to card 62 or better in the final round at Riviera Country Club.

Former Masters champion Matsuyama’s round took him to 17-under-par for the tournament and saw him finish three shots clear of runner-ups Will Zalatoris and Luke List, while Cantlay suffered a nightmare Sunday after carding a 72 which dropped him into a tie for fourth.

Along with becoming the first Japanese player to triumph at this venue, it marked the 31-year-old’s first tournament success since the Sony Open in Hawaii over two years ago and he is eager to kick on ahead of next month’s The Players Championship and the return to Augusta National in April.

“This is my first top 10 since the last Players…so hopefully I can keep that momentum going,” Matsuyama said.

“I think it’s really important for me to keep this momentum, especially going to Augusta, so hopefully I can keep that,”

Chasing a ninth tournament victory on the PGA Tour, Matsuyama, who carded 69 and a pair of 68s in the first three rounds, could hardly have asked for a better start to the day with birdies on the first three holes followed by making par on the rest of the front nine.

Hideki Matsuyama's PGA Tour wins
Image: Hideki Matsuyama’s PGA Tour wins

He opened the back nine with another three birdies in the row, and closed out his round in exactly the same manner which vaulted him to the top of the leaderboard.

Matsuyama still had to wait for the final groups to complete their rounds before he could celebrate, but it proved to be an unassailable lead as he finally put a difficult 2023 where he was hampered by a back injury to rest.

“Ever since that injury, I was worried every week something bad might happen to my back,” Matsuyama said. “But this week I had no issues, I played without any worries, so that really helped too.

“I wasn’t striking the ball really well, but my chipping and putting was working a lot this week. That really helped.”

Rory McIlroy, of Northern Ireland, prepares to putt on the ninth green during the final round of the Genesis Invitational golf tournament at Riviera Country Club, Sunday, Feb. 18, 2024, in the Pacific Palisades area of, Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ryan Sun)
Image: Rory McIlroy finished tied for 24th at Riviera Country Club

Elsewhere, Tommy Fleetwood secured a top-10 finish thanks to a final round of 67 which saw him finish on eight-under for the tournament, while Rory McIlroy’s 70 saw him finish as part of a group of seven tied for 24th.

McIlroy had endured a difficult start to the weekend at Riviera Country Club after opening with a three-over round of 74, but shot 66 and 69 in rounds two and three respectively and believes his game is not far off where he wants it to be.

“I’m close,” McIlroy said. “I’m not quite where I want to be, but it’s one of these courses where precision is so important and putting your ball in the right areas.

“If you’re just slightly off your weaknesses sort of get magnified this week.”

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