After Hideki Matsuyama became the first male Asian golfer to win a major championship with his victory in April’s Masters Tournament, he was looking forward to having a chance to compete for an Olympic gold medal in his home country and in front of his adoring Japanese fans. Unfortunately, there were no spectators allowed during any of the Tokyo Olympic events, and the then five-time winner on Tour ended up settling for a tie for fourth place after losing out to CT Pan for the bronze in a seven-player playoff.
The ZOZO Championship returned to Japan this past week after a year at Sherwood Country Club in California to the site of its inaugural playing which was won by Tiger Woods in 2019 for his 82nd Tour victory that tied Sam Snead for the all-time record. Finishing second that week was Matsuyama, who finally accomplished what he had waited two years to achieve by winning the ZOZO Championship on home soil by five shots after a sizzling back nine 32.
A bogey on the eighth hole had put him a shot behind Cameron Tringale, but Matsuyama birdied the 11th, 13th, and 15th holes to take the lead and added an exclamation point by making an eagle on the final hole after a hiccup bogey on the 17th. Tringale’s final birdie was on his tenth hole and he bogeyed his last two holes of the tournament to fall back into a tie with Brendan Steele, who closed with a four under par 66.
Matsuyama’s 15 under a total of 265 earned him $1,791,000 and 500 FedEx Cup points from the $9.95 million purse that was split among the 77 players entered in the limited field, no-cut event. The sixth PGA Tour win moved the 29 year old, who had odds of +1600 to win the ZOZO Championship, into third place on the FedEx Cup points list following his fourth event of the 2022 wraparound season.
Results for Other Favorites
Olympic gold medalist Xander Schauffele was the +600 betting favorite to duplicate his feat from the Tokyo Games, but a second-round 74 put him too deep a hole and he ended up tied for 28th at even par 280 despite recording a pair of 68’s on the weekend. Two-time major champion and another Olympian who unsuccessfully participated in that bronze medal playoff, Collin Morikawa, enter the tournament at +750, but he was unable to recover from an opening round of one over par 71, eventually battling his way back to tie for seventh place at five under par 275.
Rookie of the Year Will Zalatoris, who also was the runner up to Matsuyama at the Masters, came into the ZOZO Championship with odds of +1800, but was not a factor after ballooning to a six over 76 in his second round and ended up in a tie for 54th after improving 12 positions with a closing 68. Tommy Fleetwood at +2200 tied for seventh and Rickie Fowler wasn’t able to break par in any round, finishing in a 44th place tie at three over par with odds of +2500.