Scott Hend was the Aussie with the best chance going into the final round of the World Golf Championships Bridgestone Invitational in Ohio. He trailed the lead by just one shot going into the last day of the tournament, but could muster nothing better than a three-over 73 that took him all the way down to a tie for 10th place.
Still, Hend was the top of the Aussie contingent, as Jason Day, Adam Scott and Marc Leishman finished further down in the elite field of 49 of the top 50 ranked golfers in the world.
Despite his slip in the last 18 holes, however, Hend would have needed a career round to win, as Japan’s Hideki Matsuyama, currently listed as the world number three, shot a 61 to win the tournament by five strokes.
Displaying the typical Japanese penchant for modesty, Matsuyama said, “I played with Tiger (in 2013) and watched him shoot 61. I couldn’t believe anyone could shoot a 61 on this course. To do it today is a dream come true.”
The par 70 layout for the Bridgestone Invitational was truly not as challenging as Matsuyama made it out to be. The players in the final groups, even shorter hitters, such as Zach Johnson, were regularly hitting pitching wedges and nine irons for their approaches on the par fours, so long as they kept the ball on the fairway.
Even the par 5 16th hole, known as the “Monster” was giving up birdies with alarming regularity, although only a few players accepted the challenge of going for the green in two on the 648-yard hole.
Matsuyama won the tournament on the greens, where he was regularly so close to the hole that his birdie attempts were just beyond tap-in range.
The PGA Tour next moves to Quail Hollow, North Carolina, for the final Major of the season, the PGA Championship.