|-ten H Matsuyama (Jpn); -9 W Zalatoris (United States); -7 J Spieth (United States), X Sc Chaudele (United States); -6 J Rahm (Spa), M Leishman (Aus); -5 J Rose (English); -4 P Reed (United States), C Conners (Can)|
|Others selected: -2 R MacIntyre (Sco); -1 T Hatton (English); Level S Lowry (Ire); +1 P Casey (Eng), I Poulter (Eng); +2 M Fitzpatrick (Eng), M Wallace (Eng); +5 B DeChambeau (United States)|
Hideki Matsuyama fought off the field to win the Masters in one stroke at Augusta National and become the first Japanese to win a major title.
Matsuyama had a four-stroke lead going into the final day and, despite a few nervous moments on Sunday, pulled one over 73 to win over 10 under par.
American debutant Will Zalatoris was his closest nine-penny challenger.
England’s Justin Rose, who led for two laps, passed out in the final round with a two of 74 to finish five under.
Xander Sc Chaudele, playing with Matsuyama, birdied 15th to close in two shots, but hit his tee shot into the water on the 16th as his challenge ended in a triple bogey six.
He finished seven under par in a share of third with fellow American and 2015 champion Jordan Spieth.
Spain’s world number three Jon Rahm signed a final day 66 to come back in another shot, alongside Australian Marc Leishman.
Scotsman Robert MacIntyre impressed on his debut and finished 12th at two under par to also secure his place at next year’s Masters.
I am happy to open the floodgates – Matsuyama on a historic victory
A decade since Matsuyama received the Silver Cup as the best amateur at the 2011 Masters, the 29-year-old has returned to record a victory that will resonate tremendously in his home country.
Japan boasted of great champions in 1977, the winner of the 1977 LGPA Championship, Hisako Higuchi and Hinako Shibuno, who won the Women’s Open two years ago, but the closest male player to the most prizes. wanted from golf was Isao Aoki with a second place finish. at the 1980 US Open.
“I’m really happy. My nerves really didn’t start on the back nine, it was from the start and until the very last putt,” said Matsuyama.
“I was thinking of them [friends and family] all around the. I’m really happy to have played well for them. I hope that I will be a pioneer and that many other Japanese players will follow and I am happy to open the floodgates. “
The foundations for Matsuyama’s success were laid on Saturday, coming back from an hour behind schedule for storms to shoot six under par through his last eight holes.
That meant the world number 25, who spent the time sitting in his car playing games on his cell phone, had signed for a stunning 65 that put him four strokes off the field.
On Sunday there were some nerves at the start as Matsuyama sent his first drive through the trees and watched his lead cut to one after Zalatoris made a birdie-birdie start.
The 24-year-old American, who aimed to become the first rookie to win since Fuzzy Zoeller in 1979, appeared as a surprise challenger, but Matsuyama birdieed in the second, made smart three-and-five saves, then finished the first nine. with successive birdies.
After Zalatoris lost 10 shots and the Golden Bell 12th, the Japanese player’s advantage was extended to six shots.
Matsuyama, who had not won on the PGA Tour since 2017, could afford to cautiously bogey the 12th par-3 but was fortunate enough to avoid sending his approach to the 13th green in the azaleas and he continued to birdie in the hole.
Playing partner ScHotele seemed to have passed his challenge with four shots lost in three holes in three, four and five.
But a streak of four birdies that started on the 12th suddenly put pressure on Matsuyama, especially when the leader hit his second shot on the par-five 15s on the green and in the water at the 16th hole. This resulted in a lost shot and his advantage was reduced to two.
ScHotele’s grandparents live in Japan and he says he knows the language enough to share a joke with Matsuyama, but the American wasn’t in the mood for that when his tee shot on the par-16 fell into the water while registering a triple-bogey six.
This gave Matsuyama the initiative once again, despite carding a bogey himself, and he held a two-stroke lead towards the 18th, where he converted a bogey putt to land the green jacket in front. customers gathered around the green.
The former world number two becomes the second Japanese player to secure a victory at the iconic Georgia site in eight days, after Tsubasa Kajitani won the Augusta National Women’s Amateur last week.
‘I had only played Augusta on computer games’
Rose, twice, led for the first two rounds but couldn’t support his bid for a first green jacket as the 40-year-old passed out on Sunday to complete five backstrokes.
“I enjoyed the week and it’s a little more proof that I love playing on this golf course and that I know how to play it,” he said after a round that included six bogeys and four birdies. “Strangely enough, I felt like I was playing better than all week. Only the putter got cold.
“I’m saying nothing really big happens until April. Major season is when it really matters. It’s the beginning.
“Every month there is one that I have to prepare myself and work for and that’s what I’m going to do. It’s a boost of confidence and it gives a lot of proof that things are going in the right direction.”
MacIntyre, meanwhile, enjoyed his Masters debut and will be back next year after a par 72 on the final day that saw him finish 12th by two under, with the top 12 and ties receiving invitations to. return.
“I have to take the positives,” he said. “I played really well on a golf course that I have never seen. I only played computer games with my buddies. Now I am here, if I had known this golf course more I could have been up there competing. “
Rahm, who became a father last week, carded the day’s round with an impressive 66 bogeyless to go down to six under and finish his fourth consecutive top-10 at Augusta.
The 26-year-old Spaniard is still chasing his first major title, but is a 37-under-par combined at the site at this time, better than any other player.
2018 champion American Patrick Reed and Australian Cameron Smith, five months after his finalist, also finished in the top 10 with four under and three under respectively.