Japan's rising son faces historic Sunday moment

Matsuyama's brilliant 65 sets four shot lead

The Masters 2021 R3
April 08-11
Augusta National Golf Club, Augusta, Georgia
Round 1, Round 2, Round 4

The Masters 2021 R3 - Japan's rising son faces historic Sunday moment
(AP Photo/Gerry Broome)

Estimated reading time: 7 minutes

In sports the wherewithal to break barriers for the first time can prove to be an immense challenge. It can also provide an immense opportunity.


The Masters 2021 R3

Sunday’s final round for the 85th edition of the Master will feature Hideki Matsuyama’s attempt to be the first Japanese player to capture the green jacket — emblematic of a Masters champion. A win at Augusta would also make him just the 2nd Asian-born player — following the success of Y.E. Yang – at the 2009 PGA Championship — to win one of golf’s four most prized events.

During 3rd round play the 29-year-old separated himself from a number of challengers, including first and second round leader Justin Rose, with flawless execution resulting in a score of 30 on the back nine that included four birdies and an eagle at the par-5 15th. The seven-under-par 65 matched the low round of the tournament — which Rose scored during Thursday’s first round — and was bogey-free.


The Masters 2021 R3

Matsuyama was ranked as high as 5th at the start of the 2018 season. He is now ranked 25th.

The start of Saturday’s 3rd round had Rose holding a one-shot lead over two players — Brian Harman and Masters rookie Will Zaladoris. No fewer than ten players were within three shots of the lead — including Matsuyama.


The Masters 2021 R3

Play was suspended shortly after 4:00 PM local time and the course was evacuated for approximately 75 minutes as there were periods of heavy rain that both enabled certain players and confused others — as previously firm conditions were softened.

Matsuyama will be in the final twosome Sunday along with Xander Schauffele who has crept up the leaderboard and for the briefest of moments was tied for the lead after eagling the par-5 15th with a 60-foot putt.


The Masters 2021 R3

Hideki’s major championship record in recent years has not been good — his last top ten finish was a T5th at the 2017 PGA Championship. His best Masters finish, up to this point, was 5th in 2015. Matsuyama has won five times on the PGA Tour — two coming in WGC events with the last visit to the winner’s circle taking place at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational in August 2017.

A victory Sunday will be of earthquake proportions for the Japanese native. That outcome is certainly not preordained and the cauldron of pressure Matsuyama will face in the final round will be something he has never experienced with so much now on the line.


The Masters 2021 R3


Masters Notes

* Canadian Corey Conners aced the par-3 6th hole during Saturday’s 3rd round. This marked the 6th time the hole has been aced in Masters competition and the first one there in nine years. The hole-in-one also helped Conners in the tournament– he is six-under-par and five shots behind the leader Matsuyama.


The Masters 2021 R3

* Scoring average for the 3rd round was 72.42 — second lowest thus for this year’s event. Overall, scoring average for all rounds combined is 73.15.

* The toughest hole to birdie remains the par-4 5th — only 5 have been made through three rounds. The 5th also remains the hardest hole with an average score of 4.45. The par-4 11th is second at 4.39.


The Masters 2021 R3

Pos.
Player
To Par
R1
R2
R3
Total
1
Hideki Matsuyama
-11
69
71
65
205
T2
Marc Leishman
-7
72
67
70
209
T2
Justin Rose
-7
65
72
72
209
T2
Xander Schauffele
-7
72
69
68
209
T2
Will Zalatoris
-7
70
68
71
209
6
Corey Conners
-6
73
69
68
210
7
Jordan Spieth
-5
71
68
72
211
8
Brian Harman
-4
69
69
74
212
9
Tony Finau
-3
74
66
73
213
T10
Si Woo Kim
-2
71
69
74
214
T10
Robert MacIntyre
-2
74
70
70
214
T10
Bernd Wiesberger
-2
74
66
74
214
T13
Stewart Cink
-1
74
69
72
215
T13
Viktor Hovland
-1
73
70
72
215
T13
Kevin Na
-1
75
70
70
215
T13
Ryan Palmer
-1
74
68
73
215
T13
Patrick Reed
-1
70
75
70
215
T13
Cameron Smith
-1
74
68
73
215
T13
Henrik Stenson
-1
73
71
71
215
T13
Justin Thomas
-1
73
67
75
215
T21
Mackenzie Hughes
E
72
72
72
216
T21
Shane Lowry
E
71
73
72
216
T21
Phil Mickelson
E
75
72
69
216
T21
Francesco Molinari
E
74
73
69
216
T21
Joaquin Niemann
E
75
71
70
216
T21
Jon Rahm
E
72
72
72
216
T21
Scottie Scheffler
E
73
72
71
216
T21
Webb Simpson
E
70
76
70
216
T29
Cameron Champ
1
72
68
77
217
T29
Matt Fitzpatrick
1
74
70
73
217
T29
Tommy Fleetwood
1
74
70
73
217
T29
Matt Jones
1
74
69
74
217
T29
Martin Laird
1
74
71
72
217
T29
Collin Morikawa
1
73
69
75
217
T29
Charl Schwartzel
1
74
71
72
217
T29
Matt Wallace
1
74
72
71
217
T29
Bubba Watson
1
74
70
73
217
T38
Bryson DeChambeau
2
76
67
75
218
T38
Harris English
2
74
71
73
218
T38
Jason Kokrak
2
71
76
71
218
T38
Sebastián Muñoz
2
74
73
71
218
T38
Louis Oosthuizen
2
76
70
72
218
T43
Abraham Ancer
3
75
69
75
219
T43
Tyrrell Hatton
3
71
74
74
219
T43
Ian Poulter
3
74
73
72
219
T43
Michael Thompson
3
72
72
75
219
T47
Christiaan Bezuidenhout
4
70
76
74
220
T47
Paul Casey
4
73
74
73
220
T47
Billy Horschel
4
76
71
73
220
T47
Brendon Todd
4
73
71
76
220
T47
Gary Woodland
4
73
72
75
220
52
José María Olazábal
5
75
71
75
221
53
Jim Herman
6
76
70
76
222
54
Adam Scott
10
74
73
79
226
CUT
Daniel Berger
4
75
73
148
CUT
Sergio Garcia
4
76
72
148
CUT
Max Homa
4
74
74
148
CUT
Matt Kuchar
4
78
70
148
CUT
Jimmy Walker
4
75
73
148
CUT
Lanto Griffin
5
76
73
149
CUT
Dustin Johnson
5
74
75
149
CUT
Kevin Kisner
5
72
77
149
CUT
Brooks Koepka
5
74
75
149
CUT
Mike Weir
5
78
71
149
CUT
Lee Westwood
5
78
71
149
CUT
Danny Willett
5
76
73
149
CUT
Dylan Frittelli
6
76
74
150
CUT
Rory McIlroy
6
76
74
150
CUT
Cheng Tsung Pan
6
79
71
150
CUT
Robert Streb
6
75
75
150
CUT
Zach Johnson
7
77
74
151
CUT
Bernhard Langer
7
74
77
151
CUT
Victor Perez
7
78
73
151
CUT
Patrick Cantlay
8
79
73
152
CUT
Brian Gay
8
78
74
152
CUT
Charles Osborne (a)
8
76
76
152
CUT
Jason Day
9
77
76
153
CUT
Carlos Ortiz
9
82
71
153
CUT
Ian Woosnam
9
76
77
153
CUT
Joe Long (a)
10
82
72
154
CUT
Sandy Lyle
12
81
75
156
CUT
Hudson Swafford
12
73
83
156
CUT
Fred Couples
13
79
78
157
CUT
Sungjae Im
13
77
80
157
CUT
Vijay Singh
15
79
80
159
CUT
Tyler Strafaci (a)
17
80
81
161
CUT
Larry Mize
19
84
79
163
DQ
Matthew Wolff
E
Share this article