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What's In The Bag - Hideki Matsuyama

By: | Thu 28 Oct 2021 | Comments


Hideki Matsuyama recorded his seventh PGA Tour victory in his native land of Japan after a peerless final round.

Supported by his adoring fans, the Japanese golfer put together a steady round before culminating with a remarkable eagle on the 72nd and closing hole of his tournament.

His final outing of 65 - which included two eagles - was enough to win the Zozo Championship by a comfortable five strokes over both Brendan Steele and Cameron Tringale.

Matsuyama is now just one PGA Tour victory away from tying the record for the most by an Asian player and his victory in Japan has elevated him from 33rd to third in the FedEx Cup standings, in addition to 12th from 19th in the Official World Golf Rankings.

The 29-year-old was playing in front of a home crowd for the second time of the year, having finished T3rd in the Olympics and losing in the seven-man playoff for the bronze medal.

He opened his Zozo Championship bid with a blemish-free 64 that flirted with the lead, picking up birdies on 1, 3, 6, 13, 14 and 17.

He failed to exhibit the same relentless rhythm of his opening day on the Friday, finishing with a 68 (-2) and picking up birdies on 3, 13, 18 - but giving one back on the par-4 17th.

Another steady round on the Saturday resulted in the golfer being in contention, but two bogeys at 5 and 18 threatened to spoil the four birdies notched previously.

However, if there was any doubt, Matsuyama demonstrated that his composure was fully in-check as he eagled both 6 and 18 - he bogeyed the latter only 24 hours prior.

A rallying 65 secured a comfortable victory as he looks to rise up the world rankings yet again.

Career Highlight

The country of Japan is infatuated with the golfer that is Hideki Matsuyama, which makes sense considering he is likely to go down as the most successful men's Asian golfer of all time.

Prior to his 2021 Masters triumph, there were many questions revolving around his major appearances.

There was never any doubt he would eventually win one of golf’s grandest prizes, the problem was, when was he going to demonstrate what the entire nation of Japan knew he was capable of?

Before 2021, he had finished in the top 10 of every major championship - 2015 Masters (5th), 2017 U.S. Open (T2nd), 2016 PGA Championship (T4th) and the 2013 Open Championship (T6th).

It was expected that this raw talent from Japan would eventually secure his maiden major and perhaps go on to win many more.

The duck was finally broken in April 2021 after a sparkling third round offered a lead that seemed impossible to forfeit.

Justin Rose had started the tournament in scintillating fashion, posting a 65 (-7) after his opening 18 holes which carved a lead of four between himself and both Brian Harman and Matsuyama who scored 69.

Rose, desperate to build onto his lead and win his second major championship, started in poor fashion and the 2013 U.S. Open champion found himself three-over as he made the turn on the second day.

He recovered well but his score of even-par opened the door a smidge for his competitors and a 68 from Jordan Spieth, 69 from Harman and 68 from Will Zalatoris would rightfully have had the Englishman worried.

Matsuyama could only post a 71 after bogeys on 5, 10 and 16 - but a much-needed eagle on 13 had kept him in the race for the green jacket.

The Saturday proved difficult for scoring, well, it proved troublesome for everyone bar one member of the field: Matsuyama.

As Marc Leishman carded 70, Rose mirrored his score to tie second place alongside Xander Schauffele (68) and Zalatoris (71) to sit on seven-under for the tournament.

Further back, Corey Conners sat in sixth after a splendid 68 and Spieth one back from him with an even-par outing of 72.

Matsuyama had a healthy - but sometimes problematic - lead of four strokes prior to the final round, but it was integral that complacency did not settle in.

Of course, this is the Masters and winning easy is unfathomable but Matsuyama needed a strong start - which is something he did not get after a bogey on the first hole.

An immediate response allowed him to birdie the par-5 2nd and two further birdies on 8 and 9 seemed to portray the ruthless mood that the Japanese star was in.

However, in true Augusta meltdown fashion, bogeys on 12, 15, 16 and 18 threatened to ruin the party but, considering he was leading by two on 18, he knew he could afford a bogey and thus, win his maiden major championship.

A special shoutout for Zalatoris, who effectively introduced himself to the global golfing audience and he has since gone on to obtain his maiden PGA Tour card.

What's In The Bag - Hideki Matsuyama

Driver - SRIXON ZX7 9.5°

Irons, 4-PW - SRIXON Z Forged

Wedges - Cleveland Golf RTX 4 Forged, 46°, 52°, 56°, 60°

Ball - Srixon Z-STAR XV

Hat, Bag, Apparel, Glove and Umbrella - SRIXON

2021 Seasonal Statistics

Matsuyama plays the majority of his golf on the PGA Tour but he is also known to frequent both the Asian and European Tours.

Throughout the 2021 season, Matsuyama secured three top 10s - Masters (1st), WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational (T2nd) and the Vivint Houston Open (T2nd).

Away from the obvious major success at Augusta, and this was a relatively difficult season for the 29-year-old, who will be desperate to follow up his Zozo Championship with an eighth PGA Tour title.

Below we look at his previous seasonal statistics and where his strengths lie in regard to the other powerhouses on the PGA Tour.

Driving Distance - 299.9 Yards (62nd)

Driving Accuracy - 62.25% (80th)

Greens in Regulation - 67.03% (69th)

Birdie Average - 4.06 (33rd)

Scoring Average - 70.563 (48th)

SG: Putting -  -.433 (175th)

FedEx Cup Regular Season Points - 1,594 (14th)

After securing his maiden PGA Tour title at the Memorial Tournament, it became clear that Matsuyama was always going to become a special golfer.

Still at the age of 29 - and with 16 professional wins under his belt - how many victories can Hideki Matsuyama secure throughout his golfing career?


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