Hideki Matsuyama celebrates after winning at Augusta National
Augusta, Ga – Hideki Matsuyama won the Green Jacket at Augusta National on Sunday and with it came the collective roar of a nation – he became the first player from Japan to claim a men’s major championship. Matsuyama’s final-round 73 was good for a 10 under-par total, one stroke clear of the red-hot rookie Will Zalatoris.
Matsuyama overcame some late hiccups, mainly an air mailed approach at the par-5 fifteenth (that reached the pond behind the green), but just as things became interesting with Schauffele reeling off four straight birdies, the 27 year-old Californian was derailed when his tee shot on the par-3 sixteenth found the water left. He made triple-bogey 6, ending his hopes (finishing at 7-under par). Matsuyama had steadied himself, taking a two shot margin to the 18th tee, where after finding the fairway he made bogey from the right green-side bunker to secure his first major victory and secure his place in Masters history.
“I felt nervous from the start of the day and right through until the end,” Matsuyama said. “I was thinking about (my family) all the way around. I’m really happy I was able to play well for them.” Matsuyama landed in the bunker on the 18th, but blasted his way onto the green to give himself two putts to win the title in his 10th appearance at the tournament.
“Until last week, I hadn’t even been in the top 10 (on the tour) or contended for a title this year. I had no expectations, but in Wednesday’s practice, my shots started to feel good again, and I began to think I might have a chance,” Matsuyama said.