Hideki Matsuyama won the Sony in a play-off
Hideki Matsuyama won the Sony in a play-off Image Credit: AFP

Hideki Matsuyama returned to the top 10 in the golf world rankings following his dramatic victory at the Sony Open.

The Japanese superstar vaulted nine spots to end the one-week tenure at No. 10 of Australia’s Cameron Smith, who missed the cut in Honolulu after his record-setting victory at the Tournament of Champions on January 9. Smith dropped a spot to No. 11.

Matsuyama has been as high as No. 2 in the world, but hasn’t finished a year higher than No. 18 since 2017. He was 14th after winning the Masters last year and reached as high as No. 12 in 2021 with his win at the Zozo Championship in October.

Matsuyama has now won two of his past three starts, and he did it in dramatic style. He rallied from five shots down at the turn on Sunday to catch Russell Henley by carding a 63, then sent his 277-yard second shot into the setting sun on the first playoff hole to three feet for an eagle.

Henley, a three-time winner on the PGA Tour, admitted it stung to miss out on No. 4 despite shooting a 65 on Sunday. He did rise 18 spots to a career-best No. 40 in the rankings.

Ireland’s Seamus Power also reached a career high after his closing 65 on Sunday earned him a share of third with Kevin Kisner. Power, who was 429th to begin 2021, is now inside the top 50 at No. 49. Kisner is up three more spots to No. 36 after opening 2022 with a T8 and T3.