AUGUSTA, Georgia — Hideki Matsuyama has made history as the first male golfer from Japan to win a major championship.Matsuyama held on after knocking one in the water at the 15th, shooting a 1-over 73 to win the Masters by one stroke.
A five-time winner on the PGA Tour, Matsuyama took control of the tournament with a brilliant 65 on Saturday, doing his best work after a rain delay.
Xander Schauffele closed within two strokes after Matsuyama made bogey at No. 15. But Schauffele put one in the water at the 16th and took the first triple-bogey of his major championship career.
That cleared the way for Matsuyama to claim the green jacket. He made a bogey at No 18 but that was enough to hold off Masters rookie Will Zalatoris, who stamped himself as a future star with a 9-under 279.Matsuyama was one shot better at 278.
Copyright © 2021 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.
That 75 minute break proved to be exactly what Matsuyama needed though as he returned to the course a new man.
He played the final eight holes in six-under par, turning in the first bogey-free round of anyone in the tournament to put him on 11-under for the tournament.
Matsuyama entered the final round four shots clear but the job was certainly not done by any means.
Charl Schwartzel proved in 2011 that four shots was more than attainable to claw back on Sunday at The Masters while Fuzzy Zoeller, Nick Faldo and Gary Player have come back from even bigger deficits to pull on the green jacket.
And there were clearly some nerves on the first tee for Matsuyama as he registered a bogey to start the day.
In typical championship-pedigree though, Matsuyama bounced straight back with a birdie at the second before closing out the front nine with back-to-back birdies.