Hideki Matsuyama prevailed Sunday at the Hero World Challenge in Nassau, Bahamas.
Although he ended the final round at one over par, Matsuyama finished two strokes ahead of Henrik Stenson atop the leaderboard at 18 under overall. Matt Kuchar, Rickie Fowler and Dustin Johnson rounded out the top five:
With his win, Matsuyama took home $1 million from the $3.5 million tournament purse. Here's a look at what the rest of the top 10 earned, courtesy of ESPN.com:
|2016 Hero World Challenge Payouts: Top 10|
Matsuyama had a solid front nine Sunday, birdieing Nos. 3 and 9. He slipped, however, after making the turn.
The 24-year-old opened the back nine with a double bogey on No. 10, erasing the strokes he gained earlier in the round. He lost another stroke with a bogey on the 14th hole.
As the PGA Tour noted, Stenson was slowly making up ground after birdieing No. 14:
Earlier in the round, Stenson delivered one of the day's best shots on the 603-yard ninth hole. He dropped his approach onto the green and sunk the eagle putt.
The PGA Tour shared a replay of the two-shot sequence:
Whereas Stenson was locked in with his putter on No. 9, he lost the touch on the 15th hole. He three-putted to post a par, thus failing to close the gap on Matsuyama.
Matsuyama's advantage fell to two shots heading into the final hole, but he sealed the victory with a par on No. 18. Things were looking dicey after Matsuyama's approach landed well past the green.
As Golf Channel showed, Stenson, on the other hand, was comfortably on the green:
An excellent chip by Matsuyama on his third shot shut the door on Stenson's comeback attempt, however. The PGA Tour shared a replay of the shot:
Matsuyama's swing has been one of his defining traits, and Sean Martin of the PGA Tour's official website found one reason to possibly explain the Japanese star's trademark pause:
Matsuyama is riding an impressive run of form, with Golfweek noting he has been victorious in four of his last five events. Golf Channel's Justin Ray put the winning streak in perspective:
Matsuyama capped off 2016 in strong fashion. The question will be whether he can carry that over to 2017. He has five top-10 finishes in 17 major tournament appearances, and next year could be when Matsuyama collects his first major win.
Tournament host Tiger Woods shot a four-over 76 on Sunday to finish at four under overall. It was an underwhelming finish to what had otherwise been an encouraging showing for the 40-year-old in his first competitive event since the Wyndham Championship in August 2015.
Woods' caddie, Joe LaCava, took positives away from the weekend.
"My goal was to get him through five rounds on his feet," LaCava said, according to ESPN.com's Jason Sobel. "He feels great now, which is a huge positive."
Golf Channel shared two stats that illustrated Woods' inconsistency throughout the tournament:
Woods was bound to look rusty, having spent so much time away from the sport. Playing in the Hero World Challenge was a great way for the 14-time major champion to get comfortable on the course again before the new year.
Although Woods is unlikely to return to his old self, his days as a top contender at the biggest tournaments may not be over as long as he can stay healthy.
"I can't say that I played well today, but I did win Tiger's tournament," Matsuyama said, according to the Associated Press' Doug Ferguson (via PGA.com). "And what a great honor that is."
Matsuyama also said that he's not waiting to begin making his preparations for the first major tournament of 2017, per GolfChannel.com's Will Gray: "Starting next week, all my focus and preparation will be for the Masters. Hopefully along the way I can play well on the PGA Tour, but the Masters is my next goal."
Like Matsuyama, Woods also looked beyond the Hero World Challenge.
"Getting back to this point is beyond anything that I've ever experienced in my lifetime," he said, per USA Today's Steve DiMeglio. "The pain issues that I had, it was rough. Quite frankly there were some pretty dire times where I just couldn't move. So big picture? It feels good. It feels good to be back out here playing again, competing and trying to beat the best players in the world."