Hideki Matsuyama put on an utterly breath-taking display of golf to soar to a record-breaking five-shot victory at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, where Thomas Pieters, Rory McIlroy and Russell Knox were among those left behind by the Japanese superstar’s dominant display.

The World Number Three was simply unstoppable and from the moment he carded the only eagle of the day on the par five second hole, a second World Golf Championship title fast become a mere inevitability – breaking a plethora of records along the way with a superlative nine under final round 61 and a 16 under total.

Over the course of the week, Matsuyama carded the most birdies ever in this event, his weekend aggregate total of 12 under is also the lowest ever score over the last two rounds in the famous tournament, while his remarkable 61 is the lowest final round in the history of the World Golf Championships – by three shots.

Two-time Major Champion Zach Johnson finished in outright second position after a two under 68 left him on 11 under, while American compatriot Charley Hoffman was a shot further back.

The leading European challengers – the joint third round leader Thomas Pieters, World Number Four Rory McIlroy and former WGC-HSBC Champions winner Russell Knox – all began the day positively, but it all eventually unravelled and they were left in the shade.

Belgian Pieters (71) picked up a second top five in the WGCs this year – to add to another at the Masters – with a fourth place finish on eight under, while Northern Irishman McIlroy (69) and Knox (68) of Scotland were a shot further back in a share of fifth alongside Adam Hadwin and Paul Casey.

Player quotes:

Hideki Matsuyama

“I did play with Tiger four years ago and watched him shoot 61. I just couldn’t believe it that anyone could shoot a 61 on this golf course. And then from that point, to work hard and to be able to do it today is a dream come true.

“Last night after the round, I went to the range and hit it really well and had a lot of confidence. Then I came to the golf course this morning and I don’t know where it went. It was probably the worst warmup I’ve ever had on a tournament that I’ve won.

“I was shocked, and the first tee shot showed it. I hit it left, but something about that shot, something clicked and from that point on, I was able to find it again.

“It’s difficult to compare my game with the game of my elite peers and the world number one. They have majors, I haven’t won a major yet. I have a lot of work left to do. But that’s not to say that I don’t have confidence. I’m going to keep working and keep preparing and doing my best and hopefully someday I can reach that level that my peers have.”

Thomas Pieters

“I drove it really well today. I think I hit as many fairways today as I did the last three days. There were a lot of positives. I admit, I was a bit nervous, and missed a couple short ones, and I gave myself plenty of chances on the back nine, but I just couldn’t make it.

“I felt like I needed just one mid‑length putt to go in and I was off rolling. I just made two bad strokes on eight and nint and the confidence was going to go with the putter. But yet I gave myself chances and hit good putts like on the 13th and 14th, and it’s not a bad week after all.

“I’ve learned that I can fix my driving in a week. I hit it really calm today and of course that’s the way I want it to be on a Sunday. Hideki played amazing, that’s some score. He deserves to win and hopefully I can be in contention next week.”

Rory McIlroy

“I thought I saw some improvements in my game from when I got here on Wednesday, thought my wedge play got a little bit better as the week went on. I putted pretty well – even when I missed putts out there, they were scaring the hole, so that was good.

“I drove the ball well. Everything that I need to do next week, I’m pretty comfortable with. I’m just excited to get there and have a good look at some of the changes and get myself prepared for next Thursday.

“My wedge play was much better, just need a couple little tweaks to my technique, but then just being a little bit more aware of certain distances and trying to keep the flight down a little bit. But it was, it was much better. I’m really happy with that, especially on the back nine I hit some really good wedge shots.

“Harry was good. He encouraged me when I needed it. We both did yardages. We didn’t really make any mistakes out there. He did what was expected of him, so I guess you can’t not give him an A.

“I’ve won a couple times around Quail Hollow, I like PGA Championship setups. If I’m the favourite, I’m the favourite – I’m happy with that. It means I’m playing well – much different than I went into my last majors. It’s amazing what two weeks can do but such is life. It’s all good.”

Russell Knox

“It was nice to remember what to do. I played well, played very well at times, which was nice. I haven’t seen that in a while. It was nice to get in the mix and feel the nerves again. I’m obviously a little disappointed finishing bogey‑bogey and just got a little unlucky on both holes. All in all, I probably would have taken it at the start of the week.

“I was in great position all day, I barely missed a green through 15. I chipped out on five and other than that, I hit the ball beautifully today, rolled some nice putts, but just missed a few. All in all, it was a pretty decent effort.”

Scores:

264 Hideki Matsuyama 69 67 67 61
269 Zach Johnson 69 67 65 68
270 Charley Hoffman 68 69 67 66
272 Thomas Pieters 65 70 66 71
273 Paul Casey 70 69 67 67; Rory McIlroy 67 69 68 69; Russell Knox 66 71 68 68; Adam Hadwin 68 69 67 69
274 Rickie Fowler 70 71 67 66;
275 Thorbjørn Olesen 73 70 67 65; Hudson Swafford 70 69 70 66; Scott Hend 70 69 63 73
276 Jordan Spieth 67 70 71 68; Adam Scott 68 71 69 68; Xander Schauffele 70 69 69 68; Kevin Chappell 72 67 68 69
277 Dustin Johnson 68 75 68 66; Henrik Stenson 72 70 68 67; Matt Kuchar 71 72 66 68; Jhonattan Vegas 69 71 68 69; Brooks Koepka 71 69 67 70; Daniel Berger 71 68 68 70; Bubba Watson 67 74 66 70
278 Francesco Molinari 71 73 69 65; Brendan Steele 73 68 69 68; Charl Schwartzel 70 69 70 69; Jason Day 71 66 70 71
279 Kevin Kisner 67 73 73 66; Justin Thomas 73 70 69 67; Alex Noren 69 68 74 68; Branden Grace 71 69 71 68; Jon Rahm 67 77 67 68; Ryan Moore 73 69 68 69; Tommy Fleetwood 70 68 70 71; Jimmy Walker 68 65 74 72
281 Patrick Reed 75 70 68 68; Bill Haas 70 70 72 69; Tyrrell Hatton 72 71 69 69
282 Sergio Garcia 72 71 72 67; Phil Mickelson 71 72 72 67
283 Bernd Wiesberger 70 72 72 69; Marc Leishman 73 71 70 69; Kyle Stanley 69 74 71 69
284 Wesley Bryan 72 72 73 67; Renato Paratore 71 68 74 71; Ross Fisher 67 72 71 74
285 Lee Westwood 72 78 68 67; Satoshi Kodaira 73 71 71 70; Sam Brazel 74 70 71 70
286 Andy Sullivan 72 75 71 68; Jason Dufner 76 68 73 69; Emiliano Grillo 72 71 73 70; Hideto Tanihara 74 71 71 70; Matthew Fitzpatrick 73 71 71 71; Fabrizio Zanotti 74 69 71 72; Si Woo Kim 73 69 71 73; Brian Harman 70 74 69 73; Harold Varner III 70 69 73 74; Louis Oosthuizen 74 72 67 73
287 J.B. Holmes 69 73 78 67; Paul Lawri69 74 73 71; Bryson DeChambeau 75 69 71 72
288 Gary Woodland 74 77 70 67; Thongchai Jaide71 68 76 73; Justin Rose 72 69 74 73
289 Mackenzie Hughes 74 74 73 68; Jeunghun Wang 74 73 73 69; Russell Henley 75 74 69 71
290 Pat Perez 72 75 75 68
291 Andres Romero 68 73 74 76
292 Shaun Norris 71 77 73 71
294 Rafa Cabrera Bello 76 73 75 70
297 Chris Wood 75 74 76 72
299 Billy Horschel 76 78 77 68; Rod Pampling 73 70 76 80
301 Danny Willett 76 74 74 77

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