Monday, April 12

Pioneering Masters Champion Hidecki Matsuyama Hopes 'Many More Will Follow'


HIDECKI MATSUYAMA IS THE NEW MASTERS CHAMPION.

Shooting a 1-over 73 in the final round to win by one stroke, Matsuyama is the first player from Japan to earn a Green Jacket, as well as the first to claim any major championship.

Afterwards Matsuyama acknowledged his "pioneer" role and hopes "many more will follow."

He said, "It's thrilling to think there are a lot of youngsters in Japan watching today. Hopefully, in five, 10 years, when they get a little older, some of them will be competing on the world stage."

The Japanese star began the day with a 4-shot lead after firing a 65 in a third round disrupted by a weather delay. But he only hit five fairways on Saturday, according to the CBS broadcast team.

How would Matsuyama and his game hold up under final-round pressure? And who among the pack of chasers would exert additional pressure on the Asian golfer trying to make history?

Except for a shaky tee shot and a bogey at the first, Matsuyama was in control most of the way. Xander Schauffele made a run on the final nine to pull within two shots. Then he rinsed his tee shot in the pond at 16 and recorded a triple bogey. (I imagine that's nightmare material for many days to come.)

Matsuyama had just enough cushion to finish it off.

As I told a new viewer (he said "golf can be quite entertaining") in a text:

"Yes, the Masters usually delivers plenty of drama. There were some messes on the final nine, not one of the best, most-watchable Masters. But I'm glad Matsuyama hung on. It's good on many levels."

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