Dec 4 (Reuters) - Japan’s Hideki Matsuyama, the hottest player in world golf over the past two months, survived a shaky back nine to clinch his fourth win in five starts with a two-stroke victory at the Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas on Sunday.
While tournament host Tiger Woods delivered the good, bad and ugly as he finished 14 shots back in his much anticipated return to competition, Matsuyama ended a dominant week with his worst round, a one-over 73 at the Albany course on the island of New Providence.
The 24-year-old Japanese, seven strokes ahead overnight in the elite 18-man event, birdied two of the first nine holes, then shrugged off a double at the 10th and a bogey at the 14th as he posted an 18-under total of 270 in blustery conditions.
British Open champion Henrik Stenson of Sweden eagled the par-five ninth on the way to a 68 and second place, with Americans Dustin Johnson (71), Rickie Fowler (69) and Matt Kuchar (70) a further three strokes back.
Woods, back in action after being sidelined for nearly 16 months due to back-related issues, endured a roller-coaster afternoon that included five birdies and three double-bogeys as he closed with a 76 for 15th place at four-under.
”I think it was a great week, to be back playing again and competing, playing against the best players in the world,“ Woods told Golf Channel. ”Unfortunately I made a lot of mistakes this week, made a lot of birdies but a lot of mistakes.
“I made some poor decisions, missed the ball in the wrong spots and quite frankly it feels a little weird not to play in a cart,” said Woods, who ran up a six at the par-four last after his tee shot ended up in an unplayable position in a bush.
“So it’s a little different and I am getting used to that, getting my legs back and getting my body back, focusing for a long period of time. And these are all things that I have missed for about a year and a half.”
Reporting by Mark Lamport-Stokes in St. Augustine, Florida; Editing by Larry Fine