Hideki Matsuyama leaps into OWGR top 20 with Genesis win

LOS ANGELES – A tournament win can mean a lot and for Hideki Matsuyama, he picked up even more than a US$4 million (S$5.4 million) paycheck and 700 FedExCup points on Feb 18 at the Genesis Invitational.

The 31-year-old Japanese star’s final-round 62 to surge past the field and win the Genesis has planted him back in the top 20 of the world rankings.

The former Masters winner, once placed as high as No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking, entered last week a mere No. 55. He had not won a tournament since January 2022 and struggled with a neck injury for some time.

With his final score of 17-under 267 at Riviera Country Club near Los Angeles, Matsuyama rocketed 35 places up the board, his first time in the top 20 in nearly a year.

The Japanese himself was surprised with his victory. He started the final round six shots off the pace and said he was not playing at his best.

“I was not feeling comfortable with my ball-striking, so I was kind of thinking, ‘Hey, I’m going to have a couple missed shots (Sunday)’,” Matsuyama told reporters via interpreter Ken Hirai, “but maybe that kind of worked out”.

Will Zalatoris also benefited from his week at the Genesis and racked up OWGR points. By tying for second with Luke List, he jumped 22 spots from No. 54 to No. 32 in the world.

It was the American’s most successful outing since returning from back surgery. He missed most of the 2023 season due to back problems.

List, a two-time PGA Tour winner, gained 39 spots from No. 96 to No. 57 in the OWGR. He has not been ranked this high since the 2022 Masters.

The top five in the OWGR remained the same in the latest rankings released on Feb 19 – Scottie Scheffler, followed by Northern Ireland’s Rory McIlroy, Spain’s Jon Rahm, Norway’s Viktor Hovland and Xander Schauffele.

Patrick Cantlay swapped places with Wyndham Clark, moving up one spot to No. 6. Cantlay led the Genesis after each of the first three rounds before tying for fourth following a final-round, one-over 72.

The OWGR does not award ranking points for LIV Golf events. REUTERS


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