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Hideki Matsuyama Wins Genesis Invitational With Historic Final-Round 62

A back-nine charge sealed the win and made him the Tour's winningest Asian-born player.

Fourteen inches. Hideki Matsuyama’s approach shots on the 15th and 16th holes at the renowned Riviera Country Club came to rest a combined 14 inches from the hole.

That figure alone can tell the story, but it is just one of several stunning statistics to emerge from Matsuyama’s victory at the Genesis Invitational, in which he shot a final-round 62—the lowest Sunday round at Riviera in a PGA Tour event.

There were signs that Matsuyama’s round was shaping up to be special from the get-go. The 2021 Masters champion opened with three consecutive birdies. That string included a chip-in on the 2nd, known as the hardest par-4 on the George Thomas design. He followed with six steady pars, still maintaining a low profile on the leaderboard which was topped by Patrick Cantlay, Luke List, Xander Schauffele and Will Zalatoris.

MORE: Final payouts from the Genesis

That would soon change. Once he reached the back nine, Matsuyama made the daunting par-4 10th look friendly, driving it just short of the green and getting up-and-down for birdie. He nearly holed a 38-yard chip on the par-5 11th for eagle.

And on the 12th green—famously guarded by “Bogey’s Tree” after Casablanca’s Humphrey Bogart—Matsuyama dropped a 46-footer for birdie to sneak within one shot of the lead.

Pars on the 13th and 14th led to a stretch of holes that will come to define Matsuyama’s Genesis victory. On No. 15, the Tour pro hit an approach that he later said he “executed perfectly.”

For those familiar with Matsuyama’s tendency to pick apart his ball-striking—even if the shot turns out to be nearly perfect—such a description is a rarity.

From 189 yards, Matsuyama stuck it to inside 8 inches.

“Perfect shot,” Matsuyama said. “I had great momentum right there.”

On the next hole, the eucalyptus-lined par-3 16th, Matsuyama threw another dart, only this time his characteristic body language made it impossible to discern the shot’s brilliance until it came to rest 6 inches from the cup.

“[On] 16, I hit it maybe like five yards to the right of my target, but it became a good shot,” Matsuyama said. “All is good.”

To CBS’s Amanda Renner, Matsuyama explained that his ball-striking was so poor on Sunday that his score felt like “3 over par.” Of course, that was far from the final tally.

One more birdie on the par-5 17th to cap off a third birdie trifecta led to Matsuyama shooting a final round 62, one shot off the course record.

According to Tour officials, Matsuyama is the first player in six years to enter the final round of a PGA Tour event by six strokes and come back to win by at least three. The last player to do so was Bubba Watson at the 2018 Travelers.

Matsuyama, now a nine-time winner on the PGA Tour, is projected to jump into the top 20 in the world golf rankings for the first time since his top-10 finish at last season’s Players Championship. The Masters champion last joined the winner’s circle at the 2022 Sony Open, but neck injuries began to derail his game just a few months later.

After firing nine birdies on Sunday in the Pacific Palisades, however, Matsuyama revealed that he is playing pain free.

“Ever since that injury, I was worried every week that something bad might happen to my back, but this week I had no issue. I played without any worries,” Matsuyama said through his translator after the round.

Sunday’s win in Southern California is particularly special to Matsuyama as it marked a milestone he has been chasing since his last victory in Hawaii.

With a win count of nine, Matsuyama has surpassed K.J. Choi’s eight PGA Tour victories. In addition to becoming the first Japanese player to win at Riviera, Matsuyama is now the winningest Asian player on the PGA Tour.