And when he completed his hat-trick from 16 feet on the 16th, all that was left to decide was whether he would equal or break McIlroy's record.
Matsuyama had eight birdies and two bogeys, finishing with a flourish with a birdie on the par-five 18th to end up tied with overnight leader Brian Harman on 12-under 276, four shots behind victor Brooks Koepka.
"I was hoping to back-door a top 25", he said. If he would have hit his driver, it conceivably could have gone over 400 yards. But it was an important 120 seconds. "So to feel as confident as I did on a Sunday of a major and coming down the stretch was pretty neat". But after bogeys at the 12th and 13th holes and a birdie at the 14th, Harman could not overcome the three-birdie run put together by Koepka at holes 14 through 16. "At the beginning of this year, I felt I needed to win multiple times and a major", Koepka said. And he banked $2.16 million.
QUOTEWORTHY: "I didn't get him a card, so I really hope this works", -Koepka on his plans for celebrating Father's Day with his dad, Bob. It had to be today. "The way I putted this week was unbelievable".
Tommy Fleetwood, who played alongside Koepka and closed with a 72 to finish fourth, played the Challenge Tour a year before Koepka arrived. "Came up a little short", Matsuyama told reporters through an interpreter.
Brooks Koepka traveled around the world to find his game.
And, as he also noted, there are no moral victories. "Obviously, today I definitely had something to show for it".
"As long as I can get in them, I'll play them, " he said. "I think Brooks went out and won the tournament". Xander Schauffele, 23, may have started the week ranked No. 352, but he won't be for long after finishing 10 under for fifth place. Charley Hoffman (71) finished solo eighth at 9 under.More news: Dustin Johnson misses cut at US Open — Major Surprise
No one was more solid from start to finish than Koepka. His talent is unquestioned, his power admired, and his laid-back demeanor envied by many. "Came up a little bit short. I would love to keep playing them". I think Brooks went out and won the tournament. "Hopefully, though, in the future, in majors, I can play in the either last or next to last group to give myself a better chance".
Winds gusting up to 25mph were making scoring conditions hard and had forced tournament officials to change the pin position on the par-three 13th before play began.
Dustin Johnson played a practice round with Scheffler before winning last year's U.S. Open. Yet another record fell in the third round when Justin Thomas shot 9-under-par 63, the lowest score in relation to par.
In all there were a record 138 subpar rounds.
Many golf fans may be saying, "where has this guy been?" It's the first time that has happened since 1998-2000.
Through it all Koepka kept his measured swagger on a roll and never got ahead of himself.
He said his tee-to-green play probably rivaled any of this weekend's contenders, but he averaged 30.5 putts per round.