SHANGHAI, 30 Oct 2016, (European Tour) - The 24-year-old closed with a bogey-free final round of 66, meaning he made 29 birdies across four rounds, and played the final 45 holes without dropping a shot at Sheshan International Golf Club, to seal the largest winning margin in the tournament’s history.
Matsuyama’s winning score of 23 under par was just one shot shy of Dustin Johnson’s record low total in 2013, with Open Champion Henrik Stenson (65) and American Daniel Berger (69) sharing second place on a distant 16 under par.
Stenson’s result, however, means he replaces Masters Champion Danny Willett as leader of The Race to Dubai, with the Swede now 261,387 points clear of the Englishman with three events remaining of the 2016 European Tour season.
Northern Ireland’s Rory McIlroy also closed the gap on Willett after closing with a six under par round of 66 to share fourth place with American Bill Haas (69) on 15 under par. It was McIlroy’s fifth top ten finish in sixth appearances in the tournament, and boost his chances of retaining his Race to Dubai crown.
Englishman Ross Fisher (68) and Italy’s Francesco Molinari (70) finished in a three-way share of sixth place with American Rickie Fowler (68) on 14 under par, while defending champion Russell Knox, of Scotland, who had started the final day three shots behind Matsuyama, carded a two over par round of 74 to drop back to 12 under par. He shared ninth position with Spaniard Sergio Garcia (67), meaning six European Tour members finished inside the top ten.
Hideki Matsuyama said: “I was really nervous at the start of the day, but I was able to birdie hole number one. I kind of got myself into the rhythm of the day, and after that it was smooth sailing. I was trying to make my 30th birdie of the week at the 18th, and that's why I got into a little bit of trouble there, but I was glad to be able to get up-and-down and make par.”
“I knew Y.E. Yang won the PGA Championship, and actually, I was surprised when they announced that I was the first Asian to win a WGC event. Winning today I feel has got me closer to being able to compete a lot better in the Major tournaments. So my next goal is, of course, to win a Major, and I'm going to do all that I can to prepare well for that."