Matsuyama wins WM Phoenix Open in epic playoff
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SCOTTSDALE, AZ - FEBRUARY 07: Hideki Matsuyama of Japan shakes hands with Rickie Fowler after putting in to win on the fourth playoff hole on the 17th hole during the final round of the Waste Management Phoenix Open at TPC Scottsdale on February 7, 2016 in Scottsdale, Arizona. (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)
The Japanese star claims his second TOUR title at the Waste Management Phoenix Open
Written by The Associated Press
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Rickie Fowler hit two balls into the water on the par-4 17th hole to give Hideki Matsuyama an unexpected victory Sunday in the Waste Management Phoenix Open.
After letting a two-shot lead slip away on the 317-yard hole in regulation when he blasted a driver through the green and into the water, Fowler pulled a 5-wood into the lake on the fourth hole of a playoff to set up the deciding bogey. Matsuyama birdied the hole in regulation and two-putted for par from 6 feet in the playoff.
Fowler forced the playoff with a 10-foot birdie putt on the par-4 18th after Matsuyama made an 18-footer. They each shot 4-under 67 to finish at 14-under 270.
The playoff was just as dramatic in front of another big crowd at TPC Scottsdale's Stadium Course on a sunny day with the temperature in the high 70s.
On the par-4 10th on the third extra hole, Fowler saved par with a 12-foot putt after driving into the left rough and skulling his approach long and right. Matsuyama made a 5-footer to extend the playoff.
They played the 18th hole twice to open overtime. On the first extra hole, Fowler chipped to a foot to set up a par after leaving his wedge approach short and right. Matsuyama rolled his 25-foot putt inside a foot. On the second playoff hole, Matsuyama matched Fowler's 15-foot birdie putt to extend it.
Matsuyama won the 2014 Memorial for his only other PGA TOUR title, beating Kevin Na on the first extra hole. The 23-year-old Japanese player tied for second last year in Scottsdale, a stroke behind Brooks Koepka.
Fowler missed a chance for his fifth worldwide win in nine months. He started the run in May at THE PLAYERS Championship, won the Scottish Open the week before The Open Championship, the Deutsche Bank Championship in September and the European Tour event two weeks ago in Abu Dhabi.
Fowler chipped in from 50 feet for birdie on the par-4 10th to take the lead and added birdies on the par-5 13th and 15th holes to pull two shots ahead. He missed a 10-foot birdie putt on the par-3 16th, the tournament's signature stadium hole, before giving Matsuyama a chance with the aggressive tee shot on 17 that went nearly 360 yards.
The crowd of 65,330 Sunday pushed the week total to a record 618,365, shattering the mark of 564,368 set last year. The event broke its own golf record Saturday at 201,003 after drawing a Friday-record 160,415.
Harris English shot a 66 to tie for third at 12 under.
Third-round leader Danny Lee had a 73 to drop to fourth at 11 under. The South Korean-born New Zealander began the day three strokes ahead of playing partners Fowler and Matsuyama.
Phil Mickelson followed his third-round 65 with a 71 to tie for 11th at 8 under. The 45-year-old former Arizona State won the event in 1996, 2005 and 2013.