Hideki Matsuyama became the first Asian golfer to win a professional major championship by winning the Masters Tournament on Sunday with a score of 10 under par 278 at Augusta National Golf Club. He defeated Will Zalatoris by a shot, with Jordan Spieth and Xander Shauffele three shots back in a tie for third place.
Matsuyama collected $2,070,000 for the win, with Zalatoris taking home $1,242,000 as the runner-up. The twenty-nine-year-old from Japan earned 600 FedEx Cup points with the victory and moved into seventh place on the season-long points list.
Matsuyama was able to secure the win with a par on seventeen and a two-putt bogey on the 18th after he bunkered his second shot.
It came up all Roses at the start
Justin Rose was two over par after seven holes of his opening round, then eagled the par-five eighth hole to ignite one of the great runs in Masters history. Birdies at the ninth and tenth holes followed, and he added five more to go nine under par in his last eleven holes to shoot a seven-under-par 65.
What made the round even more remarkable was that it came on an afternoon with difficult playing conditions and on a day when the next best scores were a pair of three-under-par 69’s shot by Matsuyama and Brian Harman. Rose got off to another rough start in Friday’s second round, bogeying four of his first seven holes, but recovered with three back-nine birdies to shoot an even-par 72 to hold onto a two-shot lead heading to the weekend.
Moving day for Matsuyama
The spotty play finally caught up with Rose, with his second straight even-par round getting lapped by Matsuyama’s 65 on Saturday, putting the eventual champion in the lead at 11 under par. Rose dropped into a tie for second at seven-under-par with Will Zalatoris, Xander Schauffele, and Marc Leishman.
Matsuyama’s 65 was almost as dominant as Rose’s first-round score, three shots better than the next best Saturday rounds of 68 by Schauffele and Corey Conners. It set him up for a historic Sunday at Augusta, looking to turn a four-shot lead into his first major tournament win.
Tough start, but the finish was enough
After a bogey start by Matsuyama and birdies on the opening two holes by Zalatoris, Matsuyama’s lead was suddenly down to one shot. A birdie at the par-five second hole righted the ship for the former low amateur in the Masters, and by the time he got to the back nine, his lead was up to five shots.
It looked like the five-time PGA Tour winner would cruise to the finish until trouble struck on the par-five 15th hole. Matsuyama flew the green with his second shot, and the ball caromed into the water behind the green.
He ended up making bogey on the hole while playing partner Schauffele put up his fourth consecutive birdie to cut the lead to two shots heading to the pivotal par three 16th hole. Schauffele’s approach got gobbled up by the wind and landed in the water to the left of the green.
His triple-bogey six ended the Californian’s chances, even though Matsuyama had to settle for his second straight bogey. Zalatoris holed out on the 18th hole and finished at nine-under-par, but Matsuyama was able to secure the win with a par on seventeen and a two-putt bogey on the 18th after he bunkered his second shot.