Hideki Matsuyama received the eighty fifth Masters in dramatic vogue on Sunday, holding off Xander Schauffele down the again 9 to grow to be the primary Japanese man to seize a serious golf title. Carrying the hopes of a nation on his shoulders, Matsuyama calmly grinded out clutch pars and struck for essential birdies in a pressure-packed march at Augusta National, hanging on over the ultimate holes for a historic one-stroke victory. Matsuyama took the inexperienced jacket symbolic of Masters supremacy, a prime prize of $2.07 million (1.74 million euros) and a spot for the ages in Japanese sports activities historical past.
“I’m really happy,” he stated via a translator. “Hopefully I’ll be a pioneer in this and many other Japanese will follow. I’m happy to open the floodgate and many more will follow me.”
After seeing his seven-stroke lead with seven holes remaining shaved to 2 pictures with three to go, Matsuyama watched Schauffele discover water off the sixteenth tee on the way in which to a triple-bogey catastrophe.
“I felt like I gave him a little bit of a run and made a little bit of excitement for the tournament until I met a watery grave there,” Schauffele stated. “I’ll be able to sleep tonight. It might be hard but I’ll be OK.”
Matsuyama settled for bogey however closed with par at 17 and a bogey at 18 to fireplace a one-over-par 73 and end 72 holes on 10-under 278.
Nerves from the beginning
“My nerves really didn’t start on the second nine,” Matsuyama stated. “It was from the start today to the very last putt.”
American Will Zalatoris was second in his Masters debut on 279 after a closing 70 with US three-time main winner Jordan Spieth and American Schauffele sharing third on 281.
“It was a fun week,” Zalatoris stated. “I know I can play with the best players in the world.”
Matsuyama turned solely the second Asian man to win a serious title after South Korea’s Yang Yong-eun on the 2009 PGA Championship.
Matsuyama, ranked twenty fifth, hadn’t received for the reason that 2017 WGC Akron event, however 87 begins later, he matched the victory from his solely different 54-hole outright PGA lead, on the 2016 WGC Shanghai event.
The finest prior majors by Japanese males have been Isao Aoki’s runner-up effort on the 1980 US Open and Matsuyama’s share of second on the 2017 US Open.
No prior Japanese participant had completed higher than fourth on the Masters.
Japan’s two earlier main golf titles belonged to girls, Chako Higuchi from the 1977 LPGA Championship and Hinako Shibuno on the 2019 Women’s British Open.
The pressure of the second was on show at the beginning, Matsuyama hitting his first tee shot nicely proper into timber on the way in which to a bogey. He shook it off on the par-5 second, blasting out of a greenside bunker and tapping in for birdie.
Matsuyama saved par on the fifth on a 20-foot putt and used a deft contact with quick irons to arrange birdies on the par-5 eighth and par-4 ninth.
Matsuyama made bogey on the par-3 twelfth and hit a tree off the tee on the par-5 thirteenth however recovered for birdie as Schauffele made his transfer.
Schauffele was three-over after 5 holes however birdied at seven and eight and reeled off 4 birdies in a row beginning on the twelfth.
“I fought hard. It was a messy start,” Schauffele stated. “Hideki was robot-like for 13 holes.”
Tension grew as Matsuyama discovered the water over the inexperienced on the par-5 fifteenth and made bogey whereas Schauffele had a tap-in birdie to drag inside two pictures with three holes to play.
“Hideki gave me a little hope there,” Schauffele stated.
But Schauffele’s tee shot met a watery destiny on the par-3 sixteenth and he made triple bogey, his first in any main after 1,041 prior holes.
“I was coming in hot,” Schauffele stated. “Went a little hyper-aggressive at 16.”
Matsuyama, 29, would shut with three bogeys within the final 4 holes however blasted from a bunker at 18 to 6 ft and two putted for bogey to win.
Matsuyama’s ideas have been on his household again residence in Japan.
“I was thinking about them all the way around today,” he stated. “I was playing it for them.”
One by one, Matsuyama’s rivals fell again, early stumbles leaving their rallies too little and much too late.
Zalatoris, making an attempt to be the primary participant to win the Masters in his debut since Fuzzy Zoeller in 1979, was second on the flip however bogeys at 10 and 12 dropped him again.
Spieth had three bogeys within the first six holes and never even 4 back-nine birdies might give him an opportunity.
England’s Justin Rose, the 2013 US Open champion, had three bogeys within the first 5 holes and fired a 74 to complete seventh on 283, one again of Spain’s third-ranked Jon Rahm and Australia’s Marc Leishman.
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