It wasn’t a picture perfect finish at The 2014 Memorial Tournament presented by Nationwide Insurance on Sunday afternoon, but 22 year-old Hideki Matsuyama gets his first PGA Tour victory at Muirfiled Villlage. Matsuyama broke his driver after hitting his drive on the 72nd hole into a fairway bunker, but didn’t need it to defeat Kevin Na on the first playoff hole.
Kevin Na got in the clubhouse with the day’s best round at -13 under par, and had to wait two hours to find out that he would be in a playoff with Matsuyama. Na fired a 64 on Sunday but after pulling his tee-shot into the water hazard on the first playoff, had to watch as Matsuyama drained a par putt that would send him home with a runner-up finish.
The win netted Matsuyama, who has hung around in some big tournaments this year, 500 FedEx Cup points, and moved him up 36 positions into 14th place.
“I’m really, really happy,” Matsuyama said through his interpreter. “It’s a dream come true to win at Mr. Nicklaus’ course.”
Hideki Matsuyama becomes yet another first-time winner on the PGA Tour, and the first to win the Memorial in his maiden attempt since Roger Maltbie won the inaugural event in 1976.
This was not Matsuyama’s first trip to Muirfield Village. He played with Adam Scott in the 2013 President’s Cup last fall.
“It had a great effect on how I played this week,” Matsuyama said of the time he spent with Scott last fall. “I owe a lot to him.”
The final round at Jack’s Place was more about big names making big mistakes on Sunday afternoon. Two-time winner on the tour this year, Bubba Watson had his chances to put this one away early and get out-of-town with the FedEx Cup lead, but became very erratic from the tee down the stretch.
Trying to hit a fade on 15, Bubba double-crossed his driver, and drove the ball into the back yard of one of the million dollar homes that line the fairways at the Dublin, Ohio golf course. The double bogey left him one shy of the playoff.
“It’s about getting better at the game of golf,” Watson said. “And earlier this year I haven’t played good; I love LA, but I haven’t played good there, and then somehow I won there. And here, I haven’t played good here, but I competed this week and had a chance to win. Obviously it shows my all-around game is getting better, getting more consistent.”
For the world’s number one, Adam Scott, it was more about bad luck, than poor play. After a birdie at the 11th hole, Scott hit the flag pole on 12, and the ball ricocheted back into the fairway.
After the dust settled, Scott carded a double bogey for his effort. He made a birdie at 13, but three straight bogeys at 14, 15, and 16 left him three shots back, and out of the playoff with Kevin Na and Matsuyama.
The tour moves to Memphis for the final tournament before the US Open next week. Kevin Na finished high enough with his playoff lose to qualify for the Open, and will not have to play a qualifier this week in order to get a tee-time at Pinehurst.