After shaky start, Matsuyama holds on to win green jacket for his homeland's 1st men's major championship
"I'm really happy," Matsuyama said during an interview with CBS Sports' Jim Nantz in Butler Cabin, in comments that were relayed through an interpreter. "My nerves really didn't start on the second nine. It was right from the start today.
"Hopefully, I'll be a pioneer and many other Japanese will follow."
After a shaky bogey via a wayward tee shot on the first hole, Matsuyama recovered quickly with a bunker save for birdie at the par-5 second hole. He ran off five consecutive pars and then finished the outward nine with birdies at Nos. 8 and 9. That got him to 2 under for the day and 13 under for the tournament, five strokes ahead of American rookie Will Zalatoris (scores).
Matsuyama appeared to be cruising on the back nine until he made bogey on the par-5 15th hole as playing competitor Xander Schauffele made birdie, his fourth in a row, to pull to within two strokes with three holes to play. Schauffele proceeded to hit his 8-iron tee shot into the water short left of the par-3 16th and made triple bogey. He shot 72 and finished tied for third with Jordan Spieth at 7-under 281.
Zalatoris, making his Masters debut, birdied two of his final four holes to shoot 70 and finish runner-up at 9-under 279. He was the only competitor to break par in all four rounds.
Matsuyama, who won the 2010 and 2011 Asia-Pacific Amateur titles, finished T-27 and earned the low-amateur honor in his Masters debut, in 2011. In his six previous appearances at the Masters, he had five top-20 finishes, including a fifth in 2015 and a T-7 in 2016.
Matsuyama, an eight-time winner on the Japan Golf Tour, won his first tournament on any major pro tour since Aug. 6, 2017, at the PGA Tour's WGC Bridgestone Invitational.
Spain’s Jon Rahm shot the round of the day, a 6-under 66, to surge up the leaderboard and into a tie for fifth place. Rahm, who started the day at even par, played the front nine in 4-under 32 and added birdies at Nos. 12 and 15. Rahm, 26, a five-time winner on the PGA Tour, was headed toward his fourth consecutive top-10 finish at the Masters.
Read more of Morning Read's final-round coverage:
Take a bow, Hideki Matsuyama, by Gary Van Sickle
Masters offers clues for upcoming majors in 2021, by Alex Miceli
Jon Rahm rallies for another Masters top-10, by Steve Harmon
Billy Horschel takes second tumble at Augusta's 13 hole, by Steve Harmon
One surprising stat from Matsuyama's victory
See Sunday at Augusta like never before in these photos
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