Matsuyama comes up short
Spieth finishes strong to tie for third place
KAPALUA — Hideki Matsuyama put some pressure on Justin Thomas.
Not much later, though, Matsuyama also gave Thomas some breathing room.
Matsuyama got within a shot of the SBS Tournament of Champions lead Sunday at the Kapalua Plantation Course, but his bid for a fifth win in his last six worldwide starts came to an end with a bogey on the 17th hole.
Matsuyama three-putted the 17th for his third and final bogey of the day, falling three shots behind when Thomas made birdie. Each player then birdied the 18th — that gave Matsuyama a 3-under-par round of 70 and a 19-under total of 273 that left him as the runner-up to Thomas (69), who finished 22 under.
“My putter let me down there,” Matsuyama said through interpreter Bob Turner.
Matsuyama trailed Thomas by five shots when the tournament’s final duo had five holes left, but chipped in from the rough for an eagle on the par-4 14th — “It was an unbelievable chip he hit,” Thomas said — and reduced the deficit to one by parring the 15th hole as Thomas made double bogey.
“Yeah, I tipped my hat to Justin. … I just say congratulations to him,” Matsuyama said. “He deserved it.”
Jordan Spieth, last year’s winner, closed with a 65 — the low round of the day and tied for the best in this year’s tournament overall — to finish 16 under, tied for third with Pat Perez (67) and Ryan Moore (71).
Spieth’s finish was the lowest of his career at Kapalua. The two-time major winner was the runner-up in 2014 and is 64 under in 12 total rounds on Maui.
Sunday’s round was his first without a bogey in an uneven week that included 26 birdies and an eagle, but also two double bogeys and a triple bogey.
“When those birdies and eagles are there, that’s a huge confidence boost,” Spieth said. “That means I’m able to convert, and the other stuff is actually easier to get rid of. The big numbers are easier to dial back, just be a little bit more consistent.”
* Brad Sherman is at firstname.lastname@example.org.