Matsuyama Turns into First Japanese Man in Masters Inexperienced Jacket – NBC Los Angeles


Ten years after Matsuyama made a sterling debut as one of the best beginner at Augusta Nationwide, he claimed the last word trophy Sunday with a victory within the Masters to turn out to be the primary Japanese winner of the inexperienced jacket.

Matsuyama closed with a 1-over 73 and a one-shot victory that was solely shut on the finish, and by no means significantly doubtful after Xander Schauffele’s late cost ended with a triple bogey on the par-3 sixteenth.

Moments earlier than Dustin Johnson helped him into the inexperienced jacket, Matsuyama wanted no interpreter in Butler Cabin when he mentioned in English, “I’m actually pleased.”

So masterful was this efficiency that Matsuyama stretched his result in six photographs on the again 9 till a couple of moments of drama. With a four-shot lead, he went for the inexperienced in two on the par-5 fifteenth and it bounded exhausting off the again slope and into the pond on the sixteenth gap.

Matsuyama did properly to stroll away with bogey, and with Schauffele making a fourth straight birdie, the lead was down to 2 photographs with three to play.

The following swing all however ended it. Schauffele’s tee shot on the par-3 sixteenth bounced off the hill left of the inexperienced and dribbled into the pond. His third shot from the drop space went into the gallery. It added to a triple bogey, and his third shut name in a serious.

By no means thoughts that Matsuyama bogeyed three of his final 4 holes, the primary Masters champion with a remaining spherical over par since Trevor Immelman shot 75 in 2008.

All that mattered was that uphill stroll to the 18th inexperienced, needing solely to blast out of the bunker and take two putts for the victory.

And that’s what he did, soaking within the second with a couple of thousand spectators on their feat to rejoice a career-changing second — for the 29-year-old Matsuyama, and he hopes for a whole nation.

“Hopefully, I’ll be a pioneer and lots of different Japanese will observe,” Matsuyama mentioned.

Will Zalatoris, the 24-year-ld Masters rookie, holed an 18-foot par putt on the final gap for a 70 and was runner-up. It was one of the best efficiency by a first-timer to the Masters since one other Dallas child, Jordan Spieth, was runner-up in 2014 to Bubba Watson.

Spieth had a couple of fleeting ideas of coming from six photographs behind apart from too many missed putts early and missed alternatives late. He bogeyed his final gap for a 70 and tied for third with Schauffele, who shot a 72 with a triple bogey and a double bogey on his card.

Matsuyama completed at 10-under 278 for his fifteenth victory worldwide, and his sixth on the PGA Tour.

He turns into the second man from an Asian nation to win a serious. Y.E. Yang of South Korea gained the 2009 PGA Championship at Hazeltine over Tiger Woods.

Returning to the 18th inexperienced for the trophy presentation, he once more placed on the inexperienced jacket and raised each arms in triumph. Augusta Nationwide allowed restricted spectators, believed to be about 8,000 a day, and most may need remembered him from a decade in the past.

He gained the Asia-Pacific Novice to earn an invite to the Masters, and he was low beginner — tied with defending champion Phil Mickelson that yr — to earn a visit into famed Butler Cabin. He gained in Japan as an beginner, and 4 instances after he graduated faculty and turned professional. His first PGA Tour victory was on the Memorial in 2014, prompting match host Jack Nicklaus to say, “I believe you’ve simply seen the beginning of what’s going to be really one among your world’s nice gamers over the subsequent 10 to fifteen years.”

That second got here Sunday.

Matsuyama just isn’t massive on emotion, and he speaks even much less even when cornered after each spherical by the massive contingent of Japanese media.

Many of the media was absent this yr as a result of COVID-19 journey restrictions, and Matsuyama had mentioned on the eve of the ultimate spherical that it has been loads much less stress.

There was lots on the golf course, proper from the beginning.

Matsuyama despatched his opening tee shot into the bushes proper of the primary fairway. He punched it beneath the bushes from the pine straw, hit a mushy pitch that rolled down the slope away from the pin and was pleased to depart with bogey. Two teams forward of him, Zalatoris opened with two straight birdies.

Identical to that, the lead was down to 1.

Nobody acquired any nearer till the ultimate hour. Matsuyama made birdie from the entrance bunker on the par-5 second gap. He didn’t make one other birdie till the par-5 eighth, and it didn’t matter as a result of nobody might put any stress on him.

Zalatoris misjudged the pace on No. 3 and three-putted for bogey from simply off the again of the inexperienced. Schauffele was inside three of the lead going to the third gap, solely to go bogey-bogey-double bogey on the hardest three-hole stretch on the course.

Matsuyama delivered what gave the impression to be a knockout punch with a nifty up-and-down from proper of the inexperienced on the eighth for a tap-in birdie, and a lob wedge to the damaging left pin on the ninth that rolled out to three ft. That despatched him to the again 9 with a five-shot lead.

For the longest time, it appeared as if Matsuyama couldn’t wait to get to Butler Cabin and see how he appeared in inexperienced.

Schauffele, nonetheless, rammed in a 20-foot birdie putt from behind the twelfth inexperienced. He two-putted from 10 ft for birdie on No. 13. He almost holed out from the golf green for a tap-in birdie on the 14th. And with he almost holed his greenside bunker shot on the par-5 fifteenth for a fourth straight birdie.

After which all that that labored ended when his ball disappeared beneath the floor of the pond.

Matsuyama might afford a couple of bogeys, and all that affected was the ultimate margin. He’s the Masters champion, a serious that defines his elite standing within the recreation and offers Japan the largest week it has ever had in April. The week began per week in the past Saturday when Tsubasa Kajitani gained the second Augusta Nationwide Ladies’s Novice.

Matsuyama wasn’t round to see it, however he was properly conscious of it. All he wished was to observe her path and made Japan proud. His play spoke volumes.

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