After tracking down Russell Henley and making up five shots on the back nine to force a playoff, Hideki Matsuyama saved his best for the playoff Sunday at the Sony Open.
On the first playoff hole, Waialae Country Club’s par-5 18th, Matsuyama hit a beautiful cut 3-wood from 276 yards to 2 feet to set up a winning tap-in eagle.
After Henley had found the sand off the tee, Matsuyama exchanged driver for hybrid and laid back in the fairway to set up his hero shot.
“It was a perfect number for me for a cut 3-wood, 276 yards left to right, follow wind,” Matsuyama explained afterward. “I knew the green was soft enough to hold it, and I was able to pull it off.”
Just how good was the shot? “To be honest I didn’t even see it,” said Matsuyama, who could be seen shielding his eyes and then quickly looking away as his ball sailed toward the bright, setting sun.
“But everybody started cheering and I knew it was good.”
Henley, meanwhile, missed the green with his third shot and then couldn’t get a 10-footer for par to drop.