Seven-shot Shanghai success for Hideki Matsuyama

Japan's Hideki Matsuyama is congratulated on his WGC-HSBC Champions success by last year's winner Russell Knox. Picture: Getty Images

Japan's Hideki Matsuyama is congratulated on his WGC-HSBC Champions success by last year's winner Russell Knox. Picture: Getty Images

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Hideki Matsuyama maintained his brilliant recent form to cruise to an historic victory in the WGC-HSBC Champions in Shanghai on Sunday.

As defending champion Russell Knox slipped to a 74 that left him in a tie for ninth, Matsuyama carded a flawless closing 66 at Sheshan International to finish 23 under par and become the first Japanese player to win a World Golf Championships title.

The 24-year-old, who won the Japan Open a fortnight ago and was second in Malaysia last week, finished seven shots clear of Open champion Henrik Stenson and American Daniel Berger.

World No 3 Rory McIlroy and Bill Haas shared fourth place a shot further back, McIlroy having missed from three feet for birdie on the 18th in a closing 66.

Matsuyama took a three-shot lead into the final round and was never in danger of being caught after a front nine of 33, with a hat-trick of birdies from the 13th making certain of his first European Tour title.

Stenson surged through the field with a bogey-free 65 and takes over from Danny Willett at the top of the Race to Dubai, Masters champion Willett finishing 14 over par and 75th in the 78-man field.

Knox, who began the final round three shots off the lead, struggled on the last day as he finished in a tie for ninth with Sergio Garcia.

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