Hideki Matsuyama of Japan celebrates on the 18th inexperienced after profitable the Masters at Augusta Nationwide Golf Membership on April 11, 2021 in Augusta, Georgia.
Jared C. Tilton | Getty Pictures Sport | Getty Pictures
Hideki Matsuyama overcame a nervy begin and a pressure-induced back-nine stutter to develop into the primary Japanese participant to win a males’s main with a one-shot victory on the eighty fifth Masters.
His in a single day four-stroke lead was rapidly diminished to 1 when he bogeyed the primary and Will Zalatoris began with a pair of birdies, however Matsuyama restored his composure and seemed set for a back-nine procession when he led by six with seven holes to play.
However Xander Schauffele then made 4 straight birdies from the twelfth whereas Matsuyama made an enormous error together with his second to the fifteenth, airmailing the inexperienced together with his adrenaline-fueled second and discovering the water over the again, resulting in a bogey-six which had his lead whittled down to simply two.
Nonetheless, Schauffele then took an aggressive line to the brief sixteenth and got here up a fraction brief, his ball kicking left, lacking the bunker and discovering the lake, easing the strain on the long-time chief as he knocked a secure tee shot to the correct facet of the inexperienced, though he then three-putted from the highest tier.
Schauffele compounded his preliminary error by going over the again of the inexperienced together with his third and he wanted three extra to get down, working up a triple-bogey six which ended his Masters hopes for an additional yr, whereas Matsuyama seemed to regroup having slipped to 11 below with Zalatoris within the clubhouse on 9 below par.
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The chief steadied himself with a rock-solid par on the seventeenth, hammered an ideal drive up the final earlier than inflicting himself extra consternation when he blocked his tentative method into the bunker to the correct of the inexperienced.
However he was all smiles moments later after forking out to 6 toes, and lacking the par putt mattered little as he left a tap-in for a momentous win, 10 years on from his first go to to the Butler Cabin because the main beginner within the 2011 Masters.
Any expectations of coasting to victory have been quashed as early because the opening gap, when Matsuyama carved a fairway-wood approach proper and began with a 5, simply after Zalatoris had made birdie on the second from the entrance bunker to shut inside one.
However the American erred on the subsequent and Matsuyama replied with a 4 of his personal on the second, and he was content material to grind out the pars as his rivals fell away one after the other, with Jordan Spieth, Justin Rose and Marc Leishman unable to match the scoring of Jon Rahm, who raced spherical in 66 to shut on six below.
Matsuyama pulled additional forward with birdies on the eighth and ninth to go 5 clear on the flip, though he wouldn’t get by way of Amen Nook unscathed as he dropped his second shot of the day on the twelfth, solely to get it again at thirteenth regardless of a wild drive and a pulled second that threatened to vanish into the Azaleas.
The 29-year-old pitched it shut and made the putt to get again to 13 below within the midst of Schauffele’s valiant cost, which got here to an abrupt halt three holes from house.
Matsuyama’s three-putt was rapidly forgotten with probably the most precious pars of his profession on the penultimate gap, and one poor shot on the final didn’t have an effect on the end result as he joined YE Yang because the second Asian man to gather a serious title.
His 71 was simply sufficient to pip Zalatoris (70) into second place, whereas a deflated Schauffele parred 17 and 18 to signal for a 72 which left him in a share of second with 2015 champion Spieth, who was too far again to make a big problem after taking part in the primary eight holes in two over.
Talking by way of a translator, Matsuyama stated: “I am actually glad. My nerves did not begin on the second 9, it was proper from the beginning and proper to the final putt.
“I used to be excited about my household all the way in which spherical as we speak and I am actually glad that I performed nicely for them.
“Hopefully I will be a pioneer on this and lots of different Japanese will comply with and I am glad to have the ability to open the floodgates hopefully and lots of extra will comply with me.”
Spieth did rally with a birdie at 9 and a back-nine 33 to shut on seven below and earn his fifth top-three end in eight Masters appearances, with Rahm’s red-hot end propelling him into the highest 5 alongside Leishman.
Lengthy-time chief Rose’s hopes of entering into the combination have been scuppered when he bogeyed three of the primary 5 holes, the two-time runner-up labouring to a 74 to drop to 5 below, one forward of 2018 champion Patrick Reed and Canada’s Corey Conners.