Golf: Hideki Matsuyama storms to WGC victory and history in Shanghai

Hideki Matsuyama posing with his trophy after winning the World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions golf tournament in Shanghai on Oct 30, 2016.
Hideki Matsuyama posing with his trophy after winning the World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions golf tournament in Shanghai on Oct 30, 2016.PHOTO: AFP

Shanghai (AFP) - Dominant Hideki Matsuyama made history on Sunday when he became the first player from Asia to win a World Golf Championships.

The Japanese left a world-class field, including Rory McIlroy and all four ajor winners this year, trailing in his wake as he finished seven strokes clear at the WGC-HSBC Champions in Shanghai.

The 24-year-old Japanese player also became the first from the continent to win "Asia's Major" and he did it in style with a flawless final round of six-under par 66.

Matsuyama was just one shot shy of the record 72-hole score at Sheshan International Golf Club of 24-under 264 set by reigning US Open champion Dustin Johnson three years ago.

Matsuyama finished at 23-under 265 after four stunning rounds of 66, 65, 68 and 66 at the par-72 layout.

British Open champions Henrik Stenson and Daniel Berger of the US were tied for second way back at 16-under.

World No. 3 Rory McIlroy on Sunday carded his second 66 of the week for yet another top-five finish as he took fourth place on 15-under.

Matsuyama, whose total of 29 birdies for the week was just three short of the all-time US PGA Tour record of 32, remarkably did not card a bogey after the ninth hole of his second round on Friday, despite testing damp and windy conditions in the Chinese megacity.

The in-form 24-year-old is set to rise to as high as No. 6 in the world following his victory for which he wins US$1.62 million (S$2.25 million).

It caps a remarkable run in which Matsuyama has won the Japan Open, finished runner-up in the PGA Tour's CIMB Classic in Malaysia and won the WGC-HSBC Champions in consecutive weeks.

Before that he had finished fifth in the US PGA Tour's season-ending Tour Championships, won by McIlroy.