The defending champion from the 2016 WGC-HSBC Champions is back in action this week, and the trend of his game is just about identical to what we saw last time around. And, lest you forget, he did win three big events in 2017, finishing runner-up in three more.
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For a refresher on what things looked like last year: Matsuyama headed to Sheshan fresh off the heels of a runner-up finish at the CIMB Classic, and he had three top-five finishes in the final six events of his previous season. This year is was a tie for fifth in Malaysia, and just two top-fives to close out the 2016-17 season. That’s still really, really good, regardless of who posts those results.
Matsuyama has likely adjusted to the personal stressors he faced in 2016-17, notably acknowledging that he was married and a recent first-time father, pointing out (accurately) that none of us ever asked. Touche. Still, even a phenom like Matsuyama isn’t immune to the realities of life, and he’ll be better for that tin the big picture.
Matsuyama almost beat Johnson’s tournament record last year at Sheshan, and he’ll look to carry that momentum over into the new season. With plenty of high-level goals yet to be accomplished, Matsuyama will look to win yet another prestigious title in China.