Hideki Matsuyama has written his name in gold in not just the golfing world but in his country’s history as he would go down as the first Japanese golfer to win a major title following his stunning win at the 2021 Masters.
Matsuyama finished one-over 73 at 10 under, 1 shot ahead of Will Zalatoris, who made his first appearance at the Masters. Texas Open winner, Jordan Speith ended the final round at 7 under to share third place with Xander Schauffele. Spaniard Jon Rahm stays at fifth place with 6 under. Matsuyama, who had not won a title since 2017, won given the Silver Cup for being the leading amateur at the 2011 Masters.
Matsuyama started Sunday as the overnight leader with a four-shot lead that soon became a one-shot lead after making a bogey on his first hole while American Zalatoris birdied that hole and the next. But Matsuyama quickly made up for that mistake with a birdie on his second hole and par shots at the third and fifth. He then followed that with birdies up till the ninth. Matsuyama’s lead further widened after Zalitoris made errors on the 10th and 12th.
At the 12th hole, Schauffele bounced back from the bogeys he had previously made and posted birdies from there till the 15th hole. Matsuyama made another mistake at the 15th when his ball found water, reducing his lead to two shots. He also bogeyed the 16th hole but so did Schauffele. But Matsuyama was determined that this win was his as he made par on the last two holes to win the first major of his career.
Speaking after the final round, Matsuyama explained that his nerves did not start acting up on time and only became a problem after the ninth hole and remained till the end. He also expressed optimism that his achievement would inspire his fellow countrymen; “Hopefully I will be a pioneer and many other Japanese players will follow and I am glad to open the floodgates.”
Written by: Leon Osamor