Morikawa eager to savour taste of success after debut Open triumph
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Abraham Ancer secured his first ever PGA Tour title by defeating Hideki Matsuyama and Sam Burns in a play-off to be crowned WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational champion.
Ancer clinched his maiden PGA Tour title – and World Golf Championship – after birdieing the second play-off hole, where Matsuyama and Burns could only make par to cap off a magnificent final round of golf at TPC Southwind.
The Mexican put his approach shot on the second play-off hole just six feet away from the hole to put him in prime position, before Burns followed the effort up with a carbon copy strike to leave himself inside Ancer’s putt in poll position.
After Matsuyama two-putted for par, Ancer confidently rolled in his birdie putt to pile the pressure on Burns, who knew he had to follow the Mexican in to extend the play-off.
As a result, the American agonisingly missed his birdie attempt low to the right to give Ancer his first ever PGA Tour victory in his 121st start.
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The 30-year-old began the final round four shots off leader Harris English, however a calamitous performance by English and a conserved two-under-par 68 from Ancer saw the tables quickly turn at the top of the leaderboard.
54-hole leader English looked in prime position to secure his third win of the season after he went two-under through his opening nine holes to give himself a three-shot lead with nine holes to play.
However, double bogeys on both 11 and 14, followed by a bogey on 16 capped off a painful finish for the American as he would end up finishing three-over-par for the day and 15-under for the tournament, one shot behind tied leaders Ancer, Burns and Matsuyama.
English’s playing partner Bryson DeChambeau also struggled despite being two-shots back at the start of play. The world number seven – like English – crumbled late on as he shot six-over par for his final nine holes to finish on 12-under for the tournament.
The surprise packages of the day were Ancer’s play-off partners, Burns and Matsuyama as the former carded a six-under 64, before the latter finished with a stunning eight-under-par 62 to force themselves into a tie for the lead at the end of play.
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However, it wasn’t to be for the American and the Masters champion as it was Ancer who prevailed to become the first Mexican to win a World Golf Championship.
Englishman Ian Poulter failed to build on his promising first three days, as a two-over-par, 72 saw him finish in a tie for tenth on 11-under, however his fellow countryman Paul Casey did mount a late charge as his three-under 67 saw him finish in tied-third on 14-under-par.
There were also positives for four-time major winner Rory McIlroy, as he put his frustrations from his disappointing opening round behind him by carding a third-straight four-under 66 to finish on 10-under-par for the tournament in tied-12th.
Ancer’s victory moves him into sixth in the FedEx Cup standings, with the play-off events on the horizon in the coming weeks.
The top 125 players from the standings will take to the Northern Trust field, this will then be reduced to 70 for the BMW Championship before the top 30 make their way to the Tour Championship for the finale event in Atlanta.
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