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Hideki Matsuyama gets his first PGA Tour win at Memorial

SportsGolfBubba WatsonAdam ScottLPGAPGA TourKevin Na
Hideki Matsuyama earns his first PGA Tour victory in a wild finish at Memorial
Hideki Matsuyama defeats Kevin Na, who closed with a 64, in a playoff to win the Memorial
Masters champions Bubba Watson and Adam Scott throw away chances for Memorial

Hideki Matsuyama earned his first victory in America and validation as one of golf's young stars on Sunday with a birdie on the 18th hole to force a playoff and a 10-foot par putt on the first extra to win the Memorial.

In a tournament that Masters champions Bubba Watson and Adam Scott threw away on a wild back nine, Matsuyama looked certain to join them.

He lost the lead by dropping three shots on two holes, and he didn't look like a winner when he pushed his drive toward the bunkers on the final hole. Lightly slamming his driver to the turf in disgust, the head broke off. Matsuyama followed with an approach to within six feet for birdie and a three-under-par 69.

That forced a playoff with Kevin Na, who finished his round of 64 about two hours earlier.

Matsuyama chose not to replace his broken driver in the playoff, and his three-wood off the tee went into the bunker. Na drove left into the creek and he still had about 10 feet for bogey on the 18th hole in the playoff when Matsuyama made his par putt.

The 22-year-old from Japan pumped his fist as the ball was a few inches from dropping.

"I'm really, really happy," Matsuyama said through his interpreter. "It's a dream come true to win at Mr. Nicklaus' course."

Matsuyama won for the sixth time in his career, all of them previously on the Japan Golf Tour. He had a pair of top-10 finishes in majors last year.

Watson, who started the final round with a one-shot lead, was still in control until a couple of wild tee shots — one into deep rough on the 14th that led to bogey, and one so far right on the par-5 15th that it went over the trees and into a neighborhood, far out-of-bounds. That led to double bogey and he never recovered. Watson closed with a 72 and finished one shot out of the playoff.

"It's tough," Watson said, who was going for his third win of the year. "I made one bad decision. If I hit four-wood off the tee instead of driver on the par five, we make five and we win by one. But I made double, so we lost by one."

Scott had a share of the lead after 11 holes and was poised for his second straight PGA Tour win. But he put his tee shot into the water on the par-three 12th for double bogey, took two shots to get out of a bunker on the 14th for bogey, and then dropped another shot at the 15th when his wedge hit the pin and caromed back into the fairway. He closed with a 71 and tied for fourth with Chris Kirk (68).

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Stacy Lewis won the ShopRite LPGA Classic in Galloway Township, N.J., to take the top spot in the world ranking from Inbee Park, finishing with a four-under 67 for a six-stroke victory.

No. 1 for four weeks early last year, Lewis ended Park's 59-week run in the top spot.

Lewis finished the tournament at 16-under 197 on Seaview's Bay Course and earned $225,000 for her second victory of the year and 10th overall. Also the 2012 winner at Seaview, she won the North Texas LPGA Shootout last month after finishing second six times in her previous 16 events since winning the Women's British Open in August.

Christina Kim was second after a 72. Park closed with a 70 to tie for eighth at seven under. She's winless in 10 tour starts this season after sweeping the first three majors last year and finishing the season with six victories.

Lewis finished a stroke off the tournament scoring record set by Annika Sorenstam in 1998 and 2005. The 29-year-old Texan opened with a 67 and had a 63 on Saturday to take a one-stroke lead over Kim into the final round.

She joined Sorenstam (1998, 2002, 2005), Juli Inkster (1986, 1988) and Betsy King (1987, 1995, 2001) as the only multiple winners in the tournament.

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Thailand's Thongchai Jaidee quickly won a playoff against Stephen Gallacher of Scotland and France's Victor Dubuisson to clinch the Nordea Masters in Malmo, Sweden.

Jaidee birdied the par-five 18th at PGA Sweden's Lake Course while Gallacher and Dubuisson could only make par. Earlier, Jaidee hit six birdies and an eagle three on the 11th to finish in seven-under 65 and an overall 16-under 272.

Dubuisson could have avoided the playoff with a birdie on the 18th, but three-putted from just off the green.

Gallacher appeared to be out of the race when he bogeyed at No. 17, but he converted from 20 feet at the next.

"I worked hard today," Jaidee said. "I started with three birdies in a row, had another one on six, then a good comeback on 11."

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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