Matsuyama rallies to beat Fowler in Phoenix Open playoff

Sun Feb 7, 2016 8:12pm EST
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(Reuters) - Hideki Matsuyama edged American Rickie Fowler in a playoff at the Phoenix Open on Sunday to become only the second Japanese player with multiple wins on the PGA Tour.

Matsuyama displayed supreme poise in the clutch, overcoming a late two-stroke deficit in regulation as he finished birdie-birdie to catch Fowler at the TPC Scottsdale.

He then edged the American at the fourth extra hole to claim his second PGA Tour victory, following his maiden success at the Memorial tournament in 2014.

"It's been a while since the first one and I'm just really happy today," Matsuyama told Golf Channel via an interpreter.

"At the start of this week I wasn't really playing that well. Winning wasn't one of my thoughts. I'm just glad everything worked out fine."

Shigeki Maruyama, with three wins, is the only Japanese player with more victories on the PGA Tour.

Matsuyama, 23, who has also won six times on the Japan Tour, is projected to rise to 12th in the world rankings.

A Matsuyama victory seemed most unlikely when Fowler stood over an eight-foot birdie chance at the par-three 16th stadium hole with a chance to go three shots ahead.

But Fowler missed the putt, much to the disappointment of the gallery, and then compounded his situation by powering a driver into the water beyond the 17th green en route to a bogey.   Continued...

Hideki Matsuyama tees off on the second during the final round of the Waste Management Phoenix Open golf tournament at TPC Scottsdale. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports