Hideki Matsuyama didn't quite cruise Sunday, but the hottest player in the world nonetheless turned a seven-stroke overnight lead into a two-shot win over Henrik Stenson at the Hero World Challenge. Here’s how Sunday wrapped up in Albany:
Leaderboard: Matsuyama (-18), Stenson (-16), Matt Kuchar (-13), Rickie Fowler (-13), Dustin Johnson (-13), Bubba Watson (-11), Jordan Spieth (-11), Brandt Snedeker (-11)
What it means: This is Matsuyama’s fourth win in his last five starts. He was first at the Japan Open, second at the CIMB Classic, first at the WGC-HSBC Champions, first at the Taiheiyo Masters, and finally first at the Hero World Challenge. Up a whopping seven shots to start the day, Matsuyama made the turn in 2 under, but doubled 10 and bogeyed 14. By the time he reached the 17th tee, his seven-shot lead had shrunk to just two. Still, the No. 6 player in the Official World Golf Ranking closed with four pars to shoot 1-over 73 and take the title. Matsuyama finishes 2016 as the only player in the men’s game to win five times worldwide this year. Incredibly, he closes the year a combined 89 under in his last 20 rounds of individual stroke play. In four of his last five events, he’s been 18 under par or better.
Round of the day: On a day when conditions weren't as conducive to scoring, Bubba Watson was the low man on the leaderboard with a 5-under 67. The defending champ made seven birdies and two bogeys to cap off an uneven week of 72-63-75-67.
Best of the rest: Stenson and Patrick Reed both turned in 68. Stenson managed to cut Matsuyama's lead to just two with two to play, but couldn't catch the champion. Reed was bogey-free and opened with 13 straight pars before adding two birdies and an eagle down the stretch.
Biggest disappointment: It’s hard to fault a guy for failing to pull off a seven-shot comeback, but Stenson only lost by two, and he’ll have two final-round three-putts, at Nos. 10 and 15, to think about as he otherwise enjoys his time off. Along the same lines, Tiger Woods is likely as enthused to lead the field in birdies this week (24), as he is motivated to clean up the mistakes (eight bogeys, six doubles) that left him 4 under for the week, 15th out of 17 players, in his return from a 15-month layoff.
Shot of the day: It’s hard to do much better from a downhill lie in Bermuda rough than Jordan Spieth did with his third shot at the par-5 15th:
After weekend rounds of 70-70, Spieth finished tied for sixth with Watson and Snedeker at 11 under par.