ERIN, Wis. – A Sunday charge up the U.S. Open leaderboard didn’t net Hideki Matsuyama a highly-sought major title, but it will take the Japanese phenom to a new career high in the next Official World Golf Ranking.
Matsuyama beautifully battled windy conditions during the final round at Erin Hills, carding eight birdies en route to a 6-under 66 that proved to be the day’s low round. After starting six shots off the pace, he ended the day in a tie for second alongside Brian Harman, four shots behind Brooks Koepka.
“I played really well today,” Matsuyama said. “Came up a little bit short. No regrets, but I did play well.”
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Matsuyama’s T-2 finish is his best result in a major and his sixth top-10 finish in a major since the 2013 U.S. Open at Merion.
One year after Dustin Johnson’s infamous rules fiasco, it looked like Matsuyama might find himself in the thick of USGA controversy down the stretch. He and playing competitor J.B. Holmes were put on the clock, and Matsuyama received a bad time for taking 98 seconds to play his third shot on No. 15.
But Matsuyama finished the rest of the round without receiving a second bad time – the consequence of which would have been a one-shot penalty.
“I didn’t think we were playing that slow,” he said. “But when they gave us the word, we played a lot quicker (on) 16 and 17, yeah.”
Matsuyama will move to No. 2 when the next world rankings are published, ahead of Rory McIlroy and Jason Day and behind only Dustin Johnson. It will mark his highest career ranking and the highest ranking ever for a Japanese male.
Matsuyama also went low during a second-round 65, and he hopes to work on his consistency in order to eventually become the first Japanese man to win a major.
“If I learned anything, you’ve got to put four good rounds together,” he said. “I played two good rounds, but it wasn’t enough.”