Hideki Matsuyama of Japan is the first Asian-born winner of the Masters

AUGUSTA, Ga. – Hideki Matsuyama’s first swing in the final round of the 85th Masters was a ragged banana-shaped piece known on the nerve-racking first tee of any golf course in the world.

Matsuyama, who entered Sunday’s fourth round with a four-shot lead, did not sleep much on Saturday night, and the walk from the practice range to the golf course on Sunday afternoon was more disappointing.

Matsuyama said, “When I got to the first tee, I got hurt.” “I was really nervous.”

But Matsuyama hunted the initial drive of his kind in the forest on the left and decisively chose a fearless course, destroying his ball from a bed of intelligent peg straw through a thin ditch between two trees. Matsuyama’s caddy, Shota Hayafuji shouted, “Wu”

Even though he broke the first hole, the tone was set for his day.

A former teen golf prodigy in Japan, hoping to break through 29-year-old golf’s biggest stage, Matsuyama, boldly accused Sunday of challenging Augusta National Golf Club layout to lead a vanguard. Planted. Even with three volatile bogeys in the closing hole, he remained in the final round 73 to win the 2021 Masters by one setback and become the tournament’s first Asian-born winner.

Matsuyama, who crossed 10-under for the tournament, is the first Japanese man to win a major golf championship. Will Geltoris finished second and Gender Spathel and Jordan Spieth finished third from seven-under par.

Matsuyama’s sweeping victory made him a national hero in golf-crazy Japan, which has a rich history of producing world-class male golfers who have come close to winning a major championship in the last several decades, but have fallen short. . Two Japanese women have won major golf championships. Mattiusma’s success comes at a time of unrest over racially targeted violence against Asians and Asian-Americans.

The new face of Japanese golf is shy and tight, so much so that when he was married and had a child in 2017, he kept it hidden from the golf world for seven months. On Sunday, after receiving his formal green jacket next to the 18th green, Matsuyama relaxed and stood up, taking his arms in his hands as news photographers took photographs of him. Urged to watch the celebration, she raised both arms up and smiled meekly. Encouraged by the won response, Matsuyama widened his grin and waved his fist twice in the air.

Heading into a news conference, Matsuyama was asked if he was now the greatest golfer in Japanese history.

“I can’t say I’m the eldest,” he replied through an interpreter. “However, I’m the first to win a major, and if that’s the bar, I set it.”

Matsuyama was more interested in answering what effect his win might have on young Japanese golfers.

“Until now, we didn’t have a major champion in Japan, probably a lot of young golfers thought it was an impossibility,” he said. “Hopefully, it will set an example that this is possible and if they set their minds to it, they can too.”

Mattsuyama, who had a low score for an amateur at the 2011 Masters, was ranked second in the world four years ago, but suddenly fell into a slump. As of Sunday, he had not won a tournament since 2017 and his ranking slipped to 25th worldwide.

But after a brilliant 65 Third saturday – He had an eagle and four birdies in his final eight holes – Matsuyama came into the final round with a healthy pillow above the leaderboard. He was initially stable on Sunday even after the opening-bogey. He rebounded with a birdie in the second, then trailed five innings and came back to nine with a comfortable five-stroke lead.

But as is often the case with Masters Sunday, Strange, unexpected things happened.

On the par-5th 15th hole, Matsuyama shaped a second shot into the fairway, 227 yards from the flagstick. He said he “flushed” a 4-iron, but his golf ball was green and fell into the water behind the hole. This was no small prank, but a birdie for the fourth time in a row with his playing partner, Scheffel. Matsuyama did not lose his poetry or perseverance. Taking a penalty stroke, he sensibly clung to the green fringe and made a two-put for a bogey.

When Xiaomi stepped on the 16th tees, Shuffel was trailing by just two strokes. Still, chasing the leader, Schaffel said he felt he had to go for another birdie, but his aggressive tee shots were deficient in green and trapped in a pond.

Schauffele said that the infamous Augusta national winds made her two-crossed, a familiar buck, and possibly an accurate one.

“I shot a good shot; It turned out bad, “Schaffel, who had a triple bogey on the hole, said.” I’ll sleep properly tonight – I can pounce for a while. “

The turn of events made Masters crook Zalatoris a close follower of Matsuyama, especially after Zalatoris made a long, downhill par put on the 18th hole to finish the final round nine under, just two steps behind Matsuyama.

With two holes to play, Matsuyama hit a superb drive into the middle of the 17th fairway, driving a perfect wedge shot into the middle of the green and two-putting for an equalizer. In the 18th hole, he made another right drive, but his approach faded and landed in Greenside’s bunker in the greenside bunker. His recovery from the sand stopped six feet from the hole, but two put still gave him the championship.

Second place finishes by Zalatoris., Who is in his first year on the PGA Tour, will raise his profile in the golf community, especially in combination with his result at the 2020 United State Open, where he was tied for sixth. Except on Sunday the 18th, the 24-year-old Zalatoris received a permanent ovation from fans of the green ring.

“Complete dreams,” Zalatoris said. “I’ve been dreaming about it for 20 years.” He said: “I think I’m disappointed, I say something to my third Major. Obviously, my two secrets as a pro, I finished sixth and runner-up. I know that If I keep doing what I am doing, then I am going to get a very good chance in future. ”

Matsuyama also received a hearty, prolonged ovation as he gave up the 18th beat on Sunday. Unlike most golfers in that situation, Matsuyama had no reaction when he sank his final put and was assured of victory.

“I wasn’t really thinking anything,” Matsuyama admitted. “Then it started sinking into the joy of being a Masters champion. I can’t imagine what it’s going to be like, but it would be a thrill and honor for me to take the green jacket back to Japan. “

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