Sunday's golf: Tiger Woods ties Sam Snead's record of 82 PGA Tour wins
Inzai City, Japan — Tiger Woods shrugged off an early bogey Monday to win the Zozo Championship and tie Sam Snead’s PGA Tour record of 82 victories.
The 43-year-old American returned Monday to play the final seven holes in the rain-hit tournament, completing a 3-under 67 to beat local favorite Hideki Matsuyama by three strokes at Accordia Golf Narashino Country Club.
“It’s just crazy. It’s a lot,” Woods said. “I’ve been able to be consistent most of my career. … Today was one of those days where I was able to pull it out.”
Woods had arthroscopic surgery on his left knee two months ago — his fifth on the same problem joint. He was making his first start in his 23rd season on the PGA Tour.
“I can still manage my way around the golf course,” Woods said. “I know how to play. I was able to do that this week.”
The fourth round was suspended because of darkness Sunday, and Woods took a three-stroke lead over Matsuyama into Monday in the first official PGA Tour event in Japan.
He bogeyed his first hole of the day, the par-4 12th, but was solid the rest of the way with birdies on Nos. 14 and 18 to finish at 19-under 261. Matsuyama also closed with a 67
Rory McIlroy, the highest ranked player in the field, completed his round with two birdies for a 67 to tie for third at 13 under with Sungjae Im. Im had a 65.
Woods opened with consecutive 64s, with a day off in between because of rain. He had a 66 on Sunday in the third round.
“It’s been a long week,” Woods said. “Five days at the top of the leaderboard is a long time.”
As the U.S. Presidents Cup captain, Woods was asked about picking himself for the team.
“I think the player got the captain’s attention,” Woods said.
Woods’ approach shot on the 12th found the greenside bunker. He blasted out and left himself a long par putt that he missed for bogey, cutting the lead to two strokes.
But that was the only time he would falter.
Matsuyama missed a short birdie putt on the par-5 14th with a chance to cut the lead to a stroke. Moments later, Woods made a birdie putt on 14 to restore the three-stroke lead.
Matsuyama cut the lead to two with a birdie on par-3 16th. On 18, his drive went into the bunker at the side of the fairway, and he hit into the greenside bunker before saving par.
Woods’ approach at the par-5 18th found the greenside bunker. He blasted to 10 feet and made the birdie putt.
Woods last played in an official tournament in Japan in 2006 at the Dunlop Phoenix, where he lost in a playoff to Padraig Harrington. He won the Dunlop Phoenix the two previous years
In Busan, South Korea, South Korea’s Ha Na Jang won the BMW Ladies Championship, beating American Danielle Kang on the first hole of a playoff for her fifth LPGA Tour victory.
After matching Kang with pars on the par-4 18th on the first two extra holes, Jang hit a 95-yard approach to 4 feet on the par-4 10th to set up the winning birdie.
Jang shot a 7-under 65 to match Kang at 19-under 269 at LPGA Busan International. Kang, the winner last week in Shanghai in the first of four LPGA Tour events in Asia, had a 64. The Seoul-based Jang had an eagle and three birdies on the back nine.
Jang is the second non-LPGA Tour member to win this season, joining Women’s British Open champion Hinako Shibuno. Jang is eligible for immediate LPGA Tour membership, or she can defer it to the 2020 season. She played on the LPGA Tour from January 2015 to May 2017 and said she wanted to spend more time with her family when she rescinded her membership and returned to the Korean tour.
Jang has 12 victories on the Korean tour.
In Vilamoura, Portugal, England’s Steven Brown won the Portugal Masters for his first European Tour title, closing with a 5-under 66 for a one-stroke victory over South Africans Justin Walters (66) and Brandon Stone (70).
The 32-year-old Brown eagled the 12th and had three birdies to reach 17-under 267 at Dom Pedro Victoria. Walters finished with a 66, and Stone shot 70. France’s Adrien Saddier was fourth at 15 under after a 66.