Masterful Matsuyama

First from Japan to wear Green Jacket

The Masters 2021 R4
April 08-11
Augusta National Golf Club, Augusta, Georgia
Round 1, Round 2, Round 3

The Masters 2021 R4 - Masterful Matsuyama
(AP Photo/Gerry Broome)

Estimated reading time: 9 minutes


Finally. Japan’s son is rising and Hideki Matsuyama now sports a green jacket. The 29-year-old becomes the first from his country to win the Masters and only the second Asian-born player to win one of golf’s four major events.


The Masters 2021 R4

The closing 18 holes started with uncertainty and ended with a much-needed cushion permitting Matsuyama to close with three bogeys over the final four holes and scored a one-over-par 73 . Matsuyama’s 278 total provided a one-shot win over Masters rookie Will Zalatoris. He is the first Masters champion to score an over-par final round since Trevor Immelman shot 75 in winning the event in 2008.

Matsuyama’s familiarity with Augusta National goes back to eleven years ago when he was invited to play in the 2010 event as winner of the Asia-Pacific Amateur event. In that year and in 2011, he secured low amateur honors.


The Masters 2021 R4

The final round began with Matsuyama having a four-stroke lead over four players — Marc Leishman, Xander Schauffele, Justin Rose and Zalatoris. Matsuyama’s opening tee shot at the par-4 1st sailed wide right and he was most fortunate to escape with a bogey.

Just ahead of him Zalatoris had birdied the opening hole and the par-5 2nd narrowing the margin to one shot before Matsuyama birded the 2nd while Zalatoris bogied the short par-4 3rd.


The Masters 2021 R4

Eventually Matsuyama expanded his lead courtesy of a crucial 15-foot par-putt at the difficult par-4 5th and added two consecutive birdies at the par-5 8th and par-4 9th holes.

The spread between Matsuyama and his rivals expanded to six shots at one point during the back nine before tightening in the later stages. Schauffele made a major move with consecutive birdies from the 12th thru the 15th holes. At the par-5 15th, Matsuyama assisted matters after rinsing his 2nd shot at the hole and watching his approach bounce off a downslope behind the green and into a far pond on that side. 


The Masters 2021 R4

The par-3 16th showcased Schauffele’s undoing –misplaying his approach with a slight pull that eventually found the pond that menaces the putting surface on the left side. Eventually, he would finish the hole with a triple bogey and his run for the title came to a crashing halt. After grinding throughout the day to get back into contention after the earlier breakdown at the 5th — the inability to apply needed pressure on Matsuyama at that critical juncture only inserts question marks needing answers the next time Schauffele emerges into contention in a major championship.

Matsuyama would bogey the 16th and although he bunkered his approach at the 18th — found the green with his 3rd shot and then two-putted from seven feet away to win by one.

Asian players have had high previous finishes at the Masters — Matsuyama himself, before this year, had a best finish of 5th in 2015. But just as Adam Scott broke through in 2013 as the first Aussie to win a green jacket — the win by Matsuyama is just another clear statement on the globalization of golf and the talent level being demonstrated.


The Masters 2021 R4

The post Tiger Woods / Phil Mickelson era is now in motion and gaining steam as a new generation of players is emerging and displaying their golf prowess.

Coming into this week Matsuyama was ranked 25th in the world — he’s now 15th. In addition, the Summer Olympic Games are planned for Tokyo this summer and golf will once again be one of the sports on the agenda. Guess who’s likely going to be drawing the most eyeballs when that happens?


Masters Notes


* Matsuyama becomes the 7th golfer to have won low amateur honors and win a green jacket. That list includes Cary Middlecoff, Jack Nicklaus, Ben Crenshaw, Phil Mickelson, Tiger Woods and Sergio Garcia.

* The success of Matsuyama was tied to his play at the four par-5 holes. Cumulatively, he was eleven-under-par and that included three eagles.


The Masters 2021 R4

* The Masters was Matsuyama’s 87th start since his last PGA Tour win — the 2017 WGC-Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone where he scored a 61 in his final round. He has now won 6 times on the PGA Tour and 15 worldwide.

* Those wagering on various players for this year’s Masters could have chosen Matsuyama at 40-1 odds via Caesar’s Sportsbook by William Hill. Other sportsbooks had odds even higher.

* Matsuyama is the 26th of the last 30 winners to have come from the final pairing.


The Masters 2021 R4

* Justin Rose, tournament leader for the first two rounds, limped home during Sunday’s final round scoring a two-over-par 74 and once again failed to secure a Masters title after starting in fine fashion with an opening round of 65. For weekend play Rose scored an unfulfilling total of 146.

* The four round cumulative score of 279 posted by Zalatoris topped the 280-total posted by the last man to win the Masters in his rookie effort — Fuzzy Zoeller in 1979.


The Masters 2021 R4

* Credit CBS-Sports during its telecast for using audio from the Japanese coverage of this year’s event. The emotions of the announcers in Japanese were expressive — both when Matsuyama played fine shots and when he dunked his approach shot in the rear pond at the par-5 15th.

* Kudos to Augusta National for expanding their property footprint – adding extra length to the par-4 5th with the 2019 event. The hole previously was 455 yards until the property expanding permitted a new back tee to be added bringing the hole’s length to 495 yards. Two fairway bunkers on the left side were re-positioned and deepened. The 5th played as the 2nd toughest in relation to par for the final round with a stroke average of 4.35. Overall, the hole’s average was 4.43 allowing the stingiest number of birdies with only seven made for the championship.

* The bigger question regarding the course for the ’22 event will be if the club opts to use the extra land it purchased behind the present 13th tee. Concerns have arisen the hole’s original premise in truly being a major decision to go for the green in two shots is no longer a major concern for world class players. 

The Masters 2021 R4

Pos.
Player
To Par
R1
R2
R3
R4
Total
1
Hideki Matsuyama
-10
69
71
65
73
278
2
Will Zalatoris
-9
70
68
71
70
279
T3
Xander Schauffele
-7
72
69
68
72
281
T3
Jordan Spieth
-7
71
68
72
70
281
T5
Marc Leishman
-6
72
67
70
73
282
T5
Jon Rahm
-6
72
72
72
66
282
7
Justin Rose
-5
65
72
72
74
283
T8
Corey Conners
-4
73
69
68
74
284
T8
Patrick Reed
-4
70
75
70
69
284
T10
Tony Finau
-3
74
66
73
72
285
T10
Cameron Smith
-3
74
68
73
70
285
T12
Stewart Cink
-2
74
69
72
71
286
T12
Brian Harman
-2
69
69
74
74
286
T12
Si Woo Kim
-2
71
69
74
72
286
T12
Robert MacIntyre
-2
74
70
70
72
286
T12
Kevin Na
-2
75
70
70
71
286
T12
Webb Simpson
-2
70
76
70
70
286
T18
Tyrrell Hatton
-1
71
74
74
68
287
T18
Collin Morikawa
-1
73
69
75
70
287
T18
Scottie Scheffler
-1
73
72
71
71
287
T21
Harris English
E
74
71
73
70
288
T21
Viktor Hovland
E
73
70
72
73
288
T21
Shane Lowry
E
71
73
72
72
288
T21
Phil Mickelson
E
75
72
69
72
288
T21
Justin Thomas
E
73
67
75
73
288
T26
Abraham Ancer
1
75
69
75
70
289
T26
Paul Casey
1
73
74
73
69
289
T26
Cameron Champ
1
72
68
77
72
289
T26
Matt Jones
1
74
69
74
72
289
T26
Louis Oosthuizen
1
76
70
72
71
289
T26
Ian Poulter
1
74
73
72
70
289
T26
Charl Schwartzel
1
74
71
72
72
289
T26
Bubba Watson
1
74
70
73
72
289
T34
Matt Fitzpatrick
2
74
70
73
73
290
T34
Ryan Palmer
2
74
68
73
75
290
T34
Michael Thompson
2
72
72
75
71
290
T34
Matt Wallace
2
74
72
71
73
290
T38
Martin Laird
3
74
71
72
74
291
T38
Henrik Stenson
3
73
71
71
76
291
T40
Christiaan Bezuidenhout
4
70
76
74
72
292
T40
Mackenzie Hughes
4
72
72
72
76
292
T40
Sebastián Muñoz
4
74
73
71
74
292
T40
Joaquin Niemann
4
75
71
70
76
292
T40
Bernd Wiesberger
4
74
66
74
78
292
T40
Gary Woodland
4
73
72
75
72
292
T46
Bryson DeChambeau
5
76
67
75
75
293
T46
Tommy Fleetwood
5
74
70
73
76
293
T46
Brendon Todd
5
73
71
76
73
293
49
Jason Kokrak
7
71
76
71
77
295
T50
Billy Horschel
8
76
71
73
76
296
T50
José María Olazábal
8
75
71
75
75
296
52
Francesco Molinari
9
74
73
69
81
297
53
Jim Herman
10
76
70
76
76
298
54
Adam Scott
11
74
73
79
73
299
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
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