Matsuyama defends title at Phoenix Open


Hideki Matsuyama successfully defended his title at the Phoenix Open after four thrilling play-off holes against Webb Simpson on Sunday.

Matsuyama began the day three shots back of the leader, but he fired a five-under 66 to surge into the play-off at 17 under.

The Japanese star has now won five tournaments since last year's Tour Championship.

He also has two runner-up finishes during that stretch.

Matsuyama had a chance to win the tournament on the 72nd hole, but his birdie putt came up a rotation short of the cup.

Ultimately, Matsuyama drained a birdie putt on the par-four 17th - his fourth play-off hole - to defend his title at TPC Scottsdale.

Louis Oosthuizen climbed the leaderboard with a bogey-free six-under 65 on Sunday.

The former Open Championship winner finished in solo third at 16 under, which is his best finish anywhere in the world since last year's WGC-Dell Match Play in March.

Rickie Fowler, who lost in a crushing play-off to Matsuyama last year, finished tied for fourth with J.J. Spaun at 15 under after birdieing four of his last six holes to shoot a six-under 65.

The final pairing of An Byeong-hun and Martin Laird struggled mightily with so many big names rising around them.

An started the day with a one-shot lead, and walked off the ninth green with a three-shot advantage, but he made four bogeys and no birdies on the back nine to fall back into sixth place at 14 under.

Laird surprisingly fired a birdie-free round of two-over 73 to finish in a tie for seventh with Daniel Berger at 13 under.

Phil Mickelson reached 14 under with nine holes to play, but he collapsed on the back nine with four bogeys, a double-bogey and two birdies to finish even for the day and at 10 under overall.

He was joined by last week's winner, Jon Rahm, in a tie for 16th.