Zozo Championship: Tiger Woods claims record-equalling 82nd PGA Tour title

History maker: Tiger Woods celebrate his 82nd PGA Tour title after victory in Japan
History maker: Tiger Woods celebrate his 82nd PGA Tour title after victory in Japan

A review of the action at the 2019 Zozo Championship as Tiger Woods claimed his 82nd PGA Tour victory.

Final leaderboard

-19 Woods

-16 Matsuyama

-13 McIlroy, Im

-12 Woodland


Final day report

Tiger Woods has won a record-equalling 82nd PGA Tour title in the weather-effected Zozo Championship in Japan.

Woods completed a final round 67 on Monday morning to claim victory ahead of home favourite Hideki Matsuyama at Narashino Country Club.

The American's three-shot victory over Japan's Matsuyama was all the sweeter for the 15-time major winner, as he moved level with Sam Snead in the all-time PGA rankings.

Woods had a three-shot lead to defend over the final seven holes as the tournament was completed on Monday morning following Friday's washout.

The 43-year-old bogeyed the 12th before recovering with a birdie on the 14th, but a missed birdie putt on the 15th gave Matsuyama an opening.

Matsuyama birdied the 16th to move within two shots but a missed birdie on the 17th. That gave Woods some breathing space and he responded with a birdie four on the last and claim the title.

Woods said: "This is big. Hideki made it tight. It was a lot closer than people maybe thought.

"It is just crazy. It is a lot.

"I have been able to be consistent most of my career and have put myself up there with a chance to win on a number of occasions. There was plenty of times I didn't but today was one of those days where I was able to pull it out.

"It was definitely stressful."

Day four report

Tiger Woods
Tiger Woods

Tiger Woods is on the verge of winning a record-equalling 82nd PGA Tour title in the weather-effected Zozo Championship in Japan.

Woods holds a three-shot lead over local favourite Hideki Matsuyama with seven holes of his final round to be completed on Monday at Narashino Country Club.

The 15-time major winner had earlier compiled a third round of 66 with six birdies and two bogeys and, after a break of 48 minutes, made the ideal start to round four with a birdie on the first.

Woods dropped a shot on the fourth but the 43-year-old bounced back to birdie the next two holes and extend his lead to five shots, only for Matsuyama to birdie the 11th and 12th to close the gap before play was suspended due to darkness.

"It was a long day in the saddle," Woods, who is playing his first tournament of the season following a nine-week lay-off for knee surgery and was three over par after three holes on Thursday, told Golf Channel.

"I felt like I played all right, I made a few mistakes here and there but I kept it pretty clean for most of the day and took my birdies when I had opportunities. The greens are soft so we can fire at just about every flag."

Woods, who will equal Sam Snead's record if he can complete victory on Monday, added: "I'm going to try and win, there's no doubt about that.

"I've got a job to do tomorrow and start off on the 12th hole. It's not exactly the easiest of holes, so right out of the gate I've got one of the hardest par fours on the golf course. It certainly will have my attention.

"As the holes have gone by I've gotten a little bit more comfortable. I didn't start off very good this week, bogeyed my first three holes, but after that it's been pretty good."

South Korea's Sungjae Im and US Open champion Gary Woodland are six shots off the pace with four and eight holes to play respectively, with Rory McIlroy a stroke further back.

McIlroy, who fired an eagle and six birdies in a third round of 63, has just two holes of his final round to play.

Day three report

Tiger Woods holds a two-shot lead at the halfway stage of the Zozo Championship as he targets a record-equalling 82nd PGA Tour title.

The 15-time major winner birdied the last two holes to record a six-under-par 64 in the second round in Japan to take the outright lead ahead of fellow American Gary Woodland, the current US Open champion.

Victory in the tournament, which will finish on Monday after Friday's play was washed out at the Narashino Country Club, will see Woods match Sam Snead's PGA record.

A second successive 64 pushed the 43-year-old to 12 under par and he will be encouraged by statistics which show he has turned 38 of 49 halfway leads into victories.

Woods, who is playing his first tournament of the season following a nine-week lay-off for knee surgery, was forced to cope with an eerie silence around the course. Spectators were kept away due to safety concerns after almost 10-inches of rain saturated the area on Friday.

As if on auto pilot, he still waved after his seven birdies and provided a little showmanship when walking in some putts.

"I'm surprised that I was able to score as well as I have. Usually that takes a little bit of time," Woods told the PGA tour website.

"But this golf course is a little bit on the softer side. I've been able to strike my irons pretty well this week so far and that's been nice.

"I left a lot of my approach shots below the hole and I was able to be pretty aggressive, and the greens are a little bit slower than they were yesterday.

"I had a good feel on the putting green, which was nice. Hit a lot of putts from below the hole and making sure that I put a lot of right hand into it and released it and it felt good all day."

Day two report

Tiger Woods' hopes of building on his impressive opening 18 holes at the inaugural ZOZO Championship were put on hold after the second round was postponed because of heavy rain in Japan.

Officials made the decision due to poor forecasts throughout Friday, with up to five inches expected during the next 24 hours at Narashino Country Club.

Later on Friday, it was confirmed that the event will finish on Monday, and that the course - saturated by heavy rain - would be closed to spectators on Saturday.

Woods, attempting to join Sam Snead with a record 82 wins on the PGA Tour, is in a share of the lead with US Open champion Gary Woodland on six under and home favourite Hideki Matsuyama a shot behind following a 65.

Having started three over par after three holes, Woods played the remaining 15 in nine under par to card an impressive first-round 64.

However, because of forecasts of heavy rain throughout Friday, officials made the decision to instead start the second round on Saturday morning between 6.30am and 8.30am local time.

PGA Tour vice president of rules and competition Gary Young said: "The golf course has already taken on four tenths of an inch of rain, so it has actually reached the point of saturation and it's become unplayable.

"With more rain in the forecast and three to five inches of rain for the day, we thought the right decision was to call play for the day," Young said on the PGA Tour website.

England's rugby team have also been impacted by the wet weather in Japan ahead of the World Cup semi-final against New Zealand on Saturday.

Eddie Jones' squad were delayed by 10 minutes in their 30-mile journey from the team hotel in Tokyo Bay to International Stadium Yokohama for Friday's scheduled captain's run because of heavy rain causing traffic problems.

England assistant coach Neal Hatley revealed that although the rain is expected to clear, the travel logistics will be re-examined ahead of the clash against the All Blacks, which kicks off at 5pm local time.

Speaking after Thursday's opening round, Woods had accepted playing on through the conditions would be a test at the Narashino Country Club.

"It's going to be sloppy and tough for us," Woods told the PGA Tour's official website.

"It's going to be a grind on the weekend. Hopefully I can keep it going."

Round one report

Tiger Woods produced a brilliant fightback to claim a share of the lead after the first round of the inaugural Zozo Championship in Japan.

Woods was three over par after three holes at Narashino Country Club, but played the remaining 15 holes in nine under par to card an opening 64, which was matched by US Open champion Gary Woodland.

Home favourite Hideki Matsuyama is a shot off the lead following a 65, but world number two Rory McIlroy is eight strokes off the pace after struggling to a 72.

Woods began his round on the back nine and got off to a nightmare start as he pulled his drive on the 10th into the water to make the first of three consecutive bogeys.

The 15-time major winner steadied the ship with a par on the 13th before posting a hat-trick of birdies from the 14th and picked up another shot on the 18th to reach the turn in one under.

Woods made his second hat-trick of birdies from the third and further birdies on the seventh and ninth completed an inward nine of 29 to boost his chances of claiming the 82nd PGA Tour title of his career, equalling the record of Sam Snead.

"I was just trying to turn it to even par at the turn, that's basically my goal, and I was able to squeeze one more out of it and lo and behold I had the easier side I'm going to and hopefully I can squeeze a couple more out of it and I did a couple more better than that, which was nice," Woods told the Golf Channel.

"It's always nice to get off to a quick start and then figure it out from there, but that start I got off to wasn't very good.

"I hit bad shot after bad shot after bad shot and then a three-wiggle (three-putt) at 12 and next thing you knew things aren't looking very good.

"After the start the ball-striking was better, the putting was really good. It was one of the stranger rounds I've experienced in a while. It seems like every putt I made, other than the one at seven, was left to right. It was crazy."

Bad weather is forecast for the second round on Friday and Woods is anticipating some disruption to play for the remainder of the first PGA Tour event to be staged in Japan.

"It's going to be sloppy and tough for us tomorrow morning before the storm gets in and I think we're probably going to get a little wet, and then it's going to be a grind on the weekend," the 43-year-old added.

"It's going to be a lot of golf on the weekend for all of us and probably be close to 54 holes or so for some of the guys on the weekend. It will be a long couple of days for us."

England's Paul Casey leads the European challenge on one under par, with Sergio Garcia a shot further back and Open champion Shane Lowry, Tommy Fleetwood and Ian Poulter all shooting one over.

McIlroy was one under par after 10 holes but bogeyed the 11th, double-bogeyed the next and dropped another shot on the 16th before ending the day with a birdie on the 18th.

Fellow Northern Irishman Graeme McDowell props up the 78-man field after slumping to an 11-over-par 81 which included a back nine of 45.

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