As the rising sun hit his land, so Hideki Matsuyama delivered his golf-obsessed country the Masters title for which they have long craved. No longer does Japan have to bemoan its missing male major.
For the first time, an Asian champion got to don the green jacket.
Ten years after Matsuyama was in the Butler Cabin as the leading amateur, he returned to claim the most coveted garment in his sport. The former world No 2 at last fulfilled the promise that had long marked him out as Japan’s chosen one. It was a huge burden he has carried and for that fact alone he is so fully deserving of his immortality.
History is invariably hard-earned and, after being six shots ahead with seven to play, Matsuyama only scraped by the whisker of one shot over the impressive American debutant Will Zalatoris.
In truth, it was a long whisker. Matsuyama knew a bogey up the 18th was enough and he duly relied on the cushion, splashing out of the greenside bunker and two-putting for a 73 and a 10-under total.
What this extraordinary success will mean to the 29-year-old’s nation and, indeed, his continent will remain unquantifiable until the excitement dies down, but suffice to say those who did arise at 3.40am Tokyo time had the most thrilling early morning.
This was a triumph forged in Matsuyama’s absurd brilliance after the Saturday rain delay when he played his next seven holes in six-under. England’s long-time leader, Justin Rose, lost his advantage in that devastating burst and never recovered, eventually finishing in seventh on five-under after a 74.
Of course, Rose, who led from Thursday through to the back nine of the third round, wanted and expected more. But the 40-year-old was inactive for five weeks in the run-up because of a back spasm and he should take confidence. In short, Matsuyama was in a different league
Starting with a four-shot lead, there were initial moments for concern, when Zalatoris birdied the opening two holes and Matsuyama bogeyed the first. Yet as soon as the gap was down to one, so it just as quickly stretched back to three when Matsuyama birdied the par-five second and Zalatoris bogeyed the third.
The gallant first-timer did close in within two when holing from 10 feet on the par-five eighth. But soon Matsuyama was making a fine up and down on the same hole and when this glorious ball-striker thumped a drive 350 yards down the ninth, before flicking a wedge 95 yards to three feet, it appeared essentially to be over. So much for the Masters not beginning until the back nine on Sunday.
With Zalatoris three-putting the 10th, Matsuyama was five clear making the turn.
By then, Jon Rahm had completed a magnificent, bogey-free 66 to climb to six-under and into a tie for fifth with Australian Marc Leishman. This was the 15th successive round at Augusta in which Rahm, the world No 3, had played in par or better. It will amaze many if the 26-year-old does not emulate fellow Spaniards Seve Ballesteros, Jose Maria Olazabal and Sergio Garcia in achieving his Masters dreams.
Rahm became a father for the first time last week – his wife Kelley giving birth to son Kepa – and he will be one of the favourites going into next month’s USPGA Championship. He should be inspired by Matsuyama’s victory, another high quality iron player.
There was a bogey for Matsuyama on the par-three 12th when he flew the green into the bunker and perhaps a few Jordan Spieth’s supporters began to fantasise when the resurgent 2015 champion birdied the 13th and 14th to catch Zalatoris and Matsuyama’s playing partner, Xander Schauffele.
Yet, it was as if Matsuyama was toying with them, promptly birdieing the 13th after capitalising from his lucky break with his drive when hitting a tree and bouncing back into open play. Pity the rest. Matsuyama was playing well enough without the environs assisting his cause.
On the 15th, things became serious. Matsuyama hit the water with his second, while from the greenside bunker, Schauffele almost holed out for an eagle. As it was, the deficit shrank to just two because of the birdie and bogey. Game on. For a few minutes at least.
On the par-three 16th, it was Schauffele’s turn to locate the drink, his head bowing as his ball sunk. The American who finished second here to Tiger Woods in 2019 had to go to the drop zone and from there failed to find the green.The resulting treble-bogey six was so deflating for the American, particularly as Matsuyama bogeyed the hole.
The attention switched to Zalatoris, who holed a 15-footer on the 18th for a 70 and a nine-under total, two clear of Spieth, who also fired a 70, and Schauffele (72). Matsuyama had a two-shot advantage going to the 17th tee and when he nervelessly made par on that tricky par four he had the luxury of a five down the 18th.
“Hideki’s a great young player who inevitably was going to win majors,” Spieth said. “He had a lot of pressure on himself today – Japan on his back and maybe Asia on his back. I can’t imagine kind of how that was trying to sleep on that, even with somebody who’s had so much success. I think the way he’s been able to withstand it, is really good for the game of golf globally. Japan must have been completely rooting for him”
Indeed it was. It has been since Matsuyama stormed on to the PGA Tour and won two World Golf Championship events. There were five titles on US soil before problems with his putting saw him fall down the rankings. He began this week as world No 29, but as he ripped through the field that standing seemed ridiculous. His new status is far more appropriate for his talent.
There was another great display from a debutant and one that should give Scotland so much pride and hope. Bob MacIntyre, the 24-year-old left-hander from Oban, finished in the top 12 on two-under after a 72.
The 18th says so much about this gutsy Shinty player. After bogeying the 17th, he took on the closing hole, hitting the drive 305 yards and then conjuring a nine-iron from 145 yards to 13 feet. MacIntyre holed for a birdie. This is the way Bob rocks. He goes for everything and is not persuaded off his aggressive path by the small matter of dropped shots.
“My first time this year, and I obviously put up a decent fight, but once you come here, you don’t want to miss another on,” he said. “I’m not missing next year for anything. I’ve played some great golf over the last week and I feel like my game suits this golf course. I’m just over the moon to finish like that.”
Some pictures from the finish
Time for the Butler Cabin ceremony
A tradition like no other or the height of nauseating sycophancy? You decide.
Oliver Brown on what this victory means in Japan
Matsuyama has withstood suffocating pressure from within his home nation to claim the Green Jacket. You can read the piece in full here.
The magnitude of this Matsuyama victory was colossal for Japan. When it comes to golf-crazed countries, it ranks second in the world, with one course for every 57,000 people. It is all the more extraordinary given the game’s relatively limited history in the country.
The congratulations begin to drop
The moment the Masters was won
Matsuyama wins the Masters!
The par putt runs six inches past but he taps in to claim the title by one shot over Zalatoris. That was an impressive display with the lead despite frittering a few shots away at the the end.
Fine bunker shot from Matsuyama
Splashes out and it trickles down to within six feet. That’s that. Hideki Matsuyama is Japan’s first male major champion.
10 years on
Still work to do for Matsuyama. His second caught the breeze and faded into the greenside bunker on the right. Only needs to take three from there for the title.
Two good shots up the hill from Schauffele, who will have 15 feet to finish third on his own.
Rose’s birdie on the 18th
Booming drive from Matsuyama
No sign of nerves there, goes full bore with driver and a power fade works its way off the bunkers into the middle of the fairway. He has one arm in the green jacket now.
On the 17th green
Excellent iron shot from Matsuyama and he lags his birdie putt up close and taps in for par. He will take a two-shot lead to the 18th tee. Just needs to avoid a calamity now.
Birdie for Rose on the 18th
He has battled bravely since seizing the lead on Thursday and drains a long-range putt on the 72nd green to reach five-under. Not had his best stuff really but kept himself in touch.
Cracking drive from Matsuyama on the 17th
A lovely soft draw that splits the fairway. A par and a bogey on the 18th would be enough to crown him Masters champion.
BIG putt from Zalatoris on the last
Holes a lengthy putt for par on the 18th for a final round of 70 to seize the clubhouse lead at nine-under.
Matsuyama misses the par putt
He falls back to -11. He now has a two shot lead over Zalatoris.
Double bogey putt slips past for Schauffele
That’s a six on the par three 16th and his race is run. Was a decent pitch but the putt slides past. He drops back into a tie with Spieth.
Matsuyama had his back to the hole over that birdie putt
Such a steep slope in the middle of the 16th green. It was a good effort but it runs some six feet or so past. Tester coming up for par.
Bogey at the 18th for Spieth
He is now fourth on his own in the clubhouse on seven-under. Not his week but Spieth is a major contender again after a few years in the doldrums.
Schauffele’s third from the drop zone flies the green
What a wasted opportunity. He is battling to save double bogey from Woods 2005 country.
Spieth’s birdie on the 17th
SCHAUFFELE FINDS THE POND!
It was on a great line but he caught it slightly heavy, and the ball came up short of the bunker and kicked into the drink. That is a really poor mistake with so much of cushion to feed the ball in on the green.
Matsuyama steps up and finds the heart of the green.
To the 16th
The scene of so much drama down the years, from Nicklaus in 1975 and Woods in 2005 and 2019.
Birdie for Zalatoris
Great stuff, he just will not go away. Lovely birdie on the 17th to get third on his own.
Bogey for Matsuyama
The lead is now two with three to play! This could get very interesting.
Back to Matsuyama on the 15th
He has taken his penalty drop but now faces a horrible 30 yard pitch, uphill, to a green that runs away from you with the pin about six feet onto the green.
He tries to land it short and trickle it on but it gets stuck on the fringe. Not great, but not disastrous. Still needs to get down in two for a bogey.
Schauffele’s bunker shot is almost a stroke of genius, comes within a whisker of dropping in for eagle. Certain birdie to reach 10-under.
What a tee shot from Leishman on the 16th
Uses the slope in the middle of the green expertly and he comes within six inches of a hole-in-one. The birdie will move him to six-under.
WATER FOR MATSUYAMA
He took on the green in two on the 15th but turned it slightly too much from right to left which always makes the ball travel a few yards further. It shoots off the downslope beyond the green and flies into the water. Schauffele’s second was not his best but it finds the greenside bunker.
A bogey six for Rose on the 15th
He falls back to five-under. Spieth has a birdie putt coming up on the 17th to reach eight-under.
Matsuyama’s short-game brilliance
Back on the 15th tee
Gorgeous high fade from Matsuyama finds the right centre of the fairway. In great shape.
Rose finds the drink on 15
His long iron second from the top of the hill comes up shy and finds a watery grave.
Just a par for Matsuyama
But it’s a birdie for Schauffele. The lead is four with four holes to go.
The approach to 14…
It’s another stunning iron shot from Matsuyama that is dancing around the hole, and he will have an uphill putt for another birdie. Schauffele is going through the gears and stuffs one to within kick-in range for birdie.
Zalatoris on the 15th has hid a magnificent bunker shot down the length of the green, and that birdie will take him to eight-under.
Cracking tee shot on the 14th from Matsuyama
Splits the fairway with driver. He has the tournament in the palm of his hand now.
No eagle for Schauffele on the 13th
And Matsuyama gets up and down from behind the green to match his birdie and keeps the lead at six.
Matsuyama will breathe a sigh of relief….
He takes on the 13th green in two with a long iron and he was fortunate the ball sat down short of the Azaleas beyond the green. That could have been a disaster, but he should not take more than five from there.
Schauffele in perfect position…and hits a beauty in close from 180 yards. Great chance coming up for eagle from inside 10 feet. It just asks the question…
Birdies from Rose and Leishman at the 13th
The Englishman is battling hard and gets back to six-under.
Spieth’s birdie at 14
On the 13th tee
Schauffele has pounded one around the corner into position A on the par five.
Matsuyama’s drive was heading right into the tees but smacked into a trunk but bounced back out into the first cut. He won’t be going for the green from there.
Birdie for Schauffele!
Holes a putt from the back fringe on the 12th to reach seven-under.
No chances taken by Matsuyama who splashed out, taking plenty of sand to take the water out of play. Spieth has birdied the 14th to become one of those players five behind.
Matsuyama on the 12th
Looks like the wind has completely died which helps his cause. His task was to avoid the water shot and he has done that, but finds the back bunker. Not too much damage done.
Reed is on his way to four birdies in a row
Will take him to five-under for the tournament after feeding his tee shot off the slope on the par three 16th to within a few feet.
Matsuyama secures his par
Now he walks to the 12th which is possibly the last of the big danger holes. He has a six-shot lead.
Brilliant lag putt from Matsuyama
Coaxed the putt down to the holeside and that will surely be another precious part. At the 13th, Spieth has made another birdie to reach six-under.
The lead is six
Zalatoris misses a short putt on the 12th and makes bogey. The tournament is in Matsuyama’s hands now.
Good escape from Schauffele
He catches a piece of the 11th green after hooking his second around some branches. Matsuyama in the fairways hits a rock solid approach that comes to rest on the right fringe. Will be 40 feet or so from there but it’s dry.
Matsuyama finds another fairway
This is another danger hole with water left but he splits the fairway on the 11th. Matsuyama used to have a significant pause in his swing but he has shortened that idiosyncrasy. Schauffele finds the forest left after a slight hook.
Lovely approach from Rose on the 11th
Time running out now, be he hits a lovely draw from the top of the hill to set up a 20-foot birdie chance.
Pars for Schauffele and Matsuyama on the 10th
Another tough hole ticked off for the leader.
Some going from Rahm
Good response from Zalatoris
Finds the heart of the green on the difficult par four 11th.
Back at the 10th, Schauffele stripes his iron shot off a downslope and leaves himself an uphill birdie putt. Matsuyama is in perfect position in the middle of the fairway, seven iron in hand, and he fires it right at the flag. Comes up a little short but will be a mid-range birdie putt up the hill.
THE LEAD IS FIVE
Matsuyama nine holes away from becoming Japan’s first male major champion. But this is an identical lead to the one Jordan Spieth held in 2016.
Schauffele burns the hole with a chip from short of nine
Very nearly a bonus birdie, but Schauffele reaches the turn at six-under.
Matsuyama now for the birdie….no mistake! That’s a big swing in the last few minutes.
Clumsy from Zalatoris
A rush of blood on the 10th as he rushes his first putt some 12 feet past and cannot hole the one back for par. The lead is four once again, and Matsuyama has hit a wonderful approach into the ninth that spins back below the hole. Will be a four foot birdie putt to go five clear at the turn.
Rahm’s birdie putt on the 18th comes up short
But that will be a splendid round of 66 to finish and set the clubhouse lead at sinx-under.
Rose caught by a gust of wind on the ninth
It was a lovely chip from Rose but the putt from seven or eight feet lips out. Rose falls back to five-under. Across on the 18th green, Rahm will have a makeable birdie putt to post seven-under.
Matsuyama has launched a drive down the ninth
A lovely high draw which runs down the hill into perfect position. Up at the 13th, Cink’s eagle putt slips by the left edge.
Birdies for the final group
Good bounceback from Schauffele to get back to six-under with another birdie. Matsuyama also converts to restore a three-shot lead. The breeze is starting to get up at Augusta, which could make Amen Corner treacherous.
A blast from the past
Would you believe it…2009 Open Champion Stewart Cink is T-10 and has just hit a stunner into the 13th to set up the chance of an eagle.
At the eighth
Matsuyama’s second with three-wood, gripping down the shaft and punching it low, was a tad unfortunate to run through the green but it’s another excellent chip to within four or five feet. Will have that to go three clear.
Brilliant second from Spieth on the 10th
Slings in a big draw with a long iron and it feeds in from right of the pin and rolls to within a few feet. Glorious shot that leaves him about five or six feet for birdie. Would move him to five-under. Zalatoris saves his par on the ninth.
Zalatoris left himself in awkward spot on the ninth
Such a quick putt from above the hole, and Zalatoris’ birdie try runs some eight feet past. Tester back for the par.
Aussie Cam Smith finishing strong
Birdie for Spieth at the ninth
Holes a big sidewinder. Been a rough front nine but he gets it back to four-under. Rahm’s birdie putt at the 16th slips by.
MISS from Matsuyama
The short ones have been a weakness throughout his career, and the birdie putt slips past. The lead remains two. Schauffele converts to get back to five-under, six behind.
BIRDIE for Zalatoris
He rolls in his birdie putt to reach nine-under and cut the lead to two.
The final group are on the seventh
Magnificent approach from Schauffele, using the backboard behind the hole to set up a certain fairway. Matsuyama is also on the right side of the fairway, and he follows his playing partner in with a cracking shot. Will be four or five feet up the hill for birdie.
More good play from Zalatoris
Two big hits up the hill on the eighth and a chip from right of the par five to leave himself a 10 foot birdie putt. Jon Rahm has birdied the final par five on the course, the 15th to reach six-under.
And he has hit an excellent tee shot on 16 to leave himself a 12-foot birdie putt.
HUGE putt for Matsuyama
He holds his nerve to sink a crucial par putt at the fifth and remain at-11. In even better news for Matsuyama backers, Zalatoris missed his birdie putt at the seventh. The lead is three.
Schauffele made a double on the fifth to tumble back to four-under.
Schauffele in more trouble at the fifth
His third finds the back bunker and leaves him an uphill task to save a bogey. Much better from Matsuyama with a wedge who will have 10 feet or so to save par.
Zalatoris within six feet for birdie on the seventh
He is playing the best of any of the chasers by some distance.
To the fifth
Matsuyama found the first of the two deep bunkers on the corner of the dog leg, and is forced to lay up well short of the green. Will need to get up and down from around 150 yards to save par. Schauffele leaked his tee shot right and was fortunate it came to rest short of the bushes. Still in a horrible spot with an impeded backswing. He nudges it forward and out of the trees but it is still in the first cut.
What a shot from Finau
Another show of grit from Zalatoris
Holes an eight-foot putt for par after his tee shot found the lower level on the sixth. Matsuyama did likewise at the fourth. After a difficult start, he has steadied the ship slightly.
Jon Rahm has found Rae’s Creek on the 13th
That will surely be his race run after a Sunday charge.
To the fourth tee
Such a tough par three this one, measuring more than 240 yards. Matsuyama’s tee shot catches the back of the green, will be a testing two-putt. Schauffele finds the front bunker.
Rahm’s good play continues
Good pitch from Matsuyama
He will save par at the third. Zalatoris matches him at the fifth with a magical chip that comes to rest within a few inches after landing on the top of the crest.
Alongside Matsuyama, Schauffele came up short with his second and failed to get up and down. He falls back to seven-under. Rose two-putts the fourth to stay at six-under.
Matsuyama flies the green at the third
Flies the green and will have no room to work with from there. Poor error. Up at the fifth, Zalatoris will have work to do to save par from short of the green.
Matsuyama lays up on the third
Iron off the tee will leave a full wedge to this devilish pin.
Matsuyama’s birdie on the second
Great two-putt par on the fourth from Zalatoris
Terrific judgement of pace from long range. Meanwhile, Rose has a tester on the third after leaving his putt from the fringe short…and it lips out of the left edge! Back to six-under.
Good bounceback from Matsuyama!
Splashes out to a few feet on the second and gets back to -11. Schauffele also made birdie to reach eight-under. Incidentally, DeChambeau is teeing off on the 72nd hole on six-over.
Rose’s birdie on the second
Dropped shot for Zalatoris
The blood may have been pumping through his veins after those two birdies and he bashed a putt from the back fringe on the third well past and missed the one back. Eight-under and two back now.
Players settling down on the second
Rose and Leishman both get back to seven-under after wedging and putting for birdie on the par five. Matsuyama split the fairway with driver and found the front bunker with his second. Good chance to get up and down for birdie.
Great try from Matsuyama…
But the putt slips my the left edge. The lead is now one with Zalatoris second. Spieth’s birdie attempt at the third slips past.
Nervy from the leader
Matsuyama needs an up and down to keep the lead at two., but his pitch comes up shy before catching a slope and rolling some 30 feet away. At the third, Spieth has set up a birdie chance with a great wedge.
BIRDIE for Zalatoris
Nerveless stuff from the young American. ROck solid over the eight foot putt on the par five second and he reaches nine-under!
Matsuyama catches a break
He missed the gap he was trying to find between the trees but it snuck through back into the fairway. Birdie at the second for Corey Connors who gets to seven-under.
Leishman and Rose both with bogeys at the first
They miss par putts on a very similar line. That helps the cause of Matsuyama. Both players back at six-under.
Zalatoris’ opening birdie
Final group on the first tee – trouble for the leader
Matsuyama with a three-wood but hie hand comes off the club at impact and it slices wide right of the bunker and skips into the trees! That’s down where the teddy bears have their picnic. Schauffele shows him how it’s done by finding the left side of the fairway.
More escapology from Spieth
Found an avenue through the trees, bashed his second shot well right of the green but with no room to work with he played a delightful pitch up to within a six feet or so. Drained the putt to get back the shot he dropped on the first.
Another birdie for Rahm
He converts on the par five eighth to reach four-under for the tournament. He has no real weaknesses.
BIRDIE for Zalatoris
He closes the gap to three shots on Matsuyama after draining a putt from 25 feet or so. The perfect start for the young man.
Rose and Leishman on the first tee
Three-wood from the Australian finds the fairway and Rose comes up just shy of the fairway bunker.
Loose tee shot from Spieth on the second
He looks like he may be in the hazard after a quick hook with driver on the par five. Back at the first, Zalatoris chases a great shot into the middle of the green from the first cut.
Dropped shot for Spieth at the first
Mistake was with a second shot and just when he needed a fast start, he falls back to four-under. Zalatoris and Connors in good position back in the fairway.
Good par save at the seventh from Rahm
Up and down from a greenside bunker. MacIntyre could not do likewise at the first and has dropped back to one-under.
Spieth and Harman teeing off
A little up the left wing from Spieth but is settles in the first cut but his playing partner finds the cut stuff.
Finau finds trouble off the first tee
The ball may actually have run through to the ninth fairway. Will have a shot from there. MacIntyre in better shape in the fairway.
Rahm’s birdie putt at the sixth slipped by
He stays at the three-under which is just inside the top 10.
Robert MacIntyre and Tony Finau teeing off now
We are getting into the teeth of the action and the live coverage is about to start.
Cracking approach from Rahm at the par three sixth
Finds the shelf on the right where the pin is located and will have a good birdie chance.
Rock solid from Rahm
You take a par four at the fifth and run to the next tee. He maintains a clean card and his momentum.
Three putts for Morikawa at the ninth
It is so difficult once you are above the hole on nine. Morikawa missed the correct level and drops back to one-under. Spieth currently going through his paces on the range.
Rahm still going well
Made a three at the tough fourth for par and has boomed a drive down the fifth. Will have just 170 yards for his second which is an easy eight-iron for him.
Mickelson into red figures
He is yet another player to birdie the second with the pin in such an inviting position. Still has an outside chance of a top-10 finish. Currently T-15 on one-under.
Just a par for Morikawa at the par five eighth
His pitched third came up some 30 feet shy of the hole and he hat to be content with a par.
Another birdie-birdie start
This time from 2012 US Open champion Webb Simpson who moves to two-under.
That’s what the leaders will want to do at the sixth
Rahm has made par at the third
Slightly mundane compared to what preceded it, but still a great start.
Another player making a move is Morikawa
Three-under for the day after a birdie at the seventh courtesy of a pin point approach. Par five next and two-under for the tournament.
Brilliant start from Rahm
The Spaniard and new father moves into the top 10 after an eagle at the par five second. Sent a long iron into orbit and fed off the slopes to the back right pin position. Three under thru 2!
Ian Poulter has reached the turn
Putting together a good final round, three-under for the day and level par for the tournament.
By the numbers
Birdie at the first for Jon Rahm
He was a hair away from an eagle two, ripping his approach off the back-stop to within inches. One-under for the week now.
Great start from Matt Wallace
He has eagled the par five second to reach one-under for the tournament. Morikawa has made a bogey at the fourth to drop back to level par.
Another Morikawa birdie at the short par four third
The defending USPGA Champion is into red figures for the tournament.
Birdies for Morikawa and Matt Jones at the second
They get back to level for the tournament. Not the day Morikawa was looking for on Saturday, he was uncharacteristically ragged from tee to green.
Birdie-birdie start too for Jason Kokrak
He gets back to level par for the week. The powerful driver has showcased quite the line of attire this week:
Birdie-birdie start for Poulter
He is back to one-over. Augusta usually set up the pins to yield birdies on the final day and most are in their traditional spots today.
The upcoming tee times
16:20 S Munoz (Col), C Champ (US)
16:40 C Morikawa (US), M Jones (Aus)
16:50 T Fleetwood (Eng), M Fitzpatrick (Eng)
17:00 B Watson (US), M Laird (Sco)
17:10 C Schwartzel (SA), M Wallace (Eng)
17:20 M Hughes (Can), S Lowry (Ire)
17:30 J Rahm (Spa), S Scheffler (US)
Conditions look good
Paul Casey has birdied the first
Not the week Casey was hoping for after a promising start on Thursday. He is three-over for the tournament and playing for pride.
That’s a strong record when leading
Behind the scenes
Can anyone emerge from the pack to challenge Matsuyama?
Hideki Matsuyama could make history at Augusta National today but will it be the right kind or the wrong kind?
Matsuyama holds a four-shot lead after an exhibition of approach play fired him to a Saturday 65 and is now strong favourite to become Japan’s first Masters champion. In fact, he would be the first male Japanese player to win any of golf’s major championships.
“This will be a new experience for me, being a leader going into the final round in a major,” said Matsuyama, who was only one under for his third round before the weather delay.
“All I can do is just relax as I can tonight, prepare well and just do my best tomorrow.”
If there is hope for the rest of the field, it is in the fact Matsuyama found just four fairways on Saturday and he does have a history of having cold days with the putter. Nevertheless, he has won a WGC event and other significant PGA Tour tournaments so is unlikely to wilt.
Of the last 30 Masters champions, 25 have come from the final pairing where Xander Schauffele is paired with Matusyama. 28 straight major winners have been within 4 of the lead entering the final round. Also with Schauffele on seven-under are: Marc Leishman, Justin Rose and Will Zalatoris.
Rose’s long game was very ragged late on Saturday but he leaned on his short game to escape from the 17th and 18th with pars to just about give himself a chance. Rose surprised everyone with his seven-under 65 on Thursday but it has been a grind since. He needs a cleaner ball-striking day to stand a chance of catching Matsuyama.
Jordan Spieth did not quite produce the Saturday charge we expected but will feel he has an outside chance with a low round today. Spieth starts at five-under.