Matsuyama becomes 1st Japanese to win Augusta Masters

Augusta, Georgia, Apr 11 (efe-epa).- Hideki Matsuyama, ranked No. 25 in the world, on Sunday fulfilled his lifelong dream of becoming the first Japanese to win the Augusta Masters tourney, his first big title as a professional golfer.

Japanese golfers have been competing for the green jacket in Augusta since 1936.

Matsuyama, 29, turned in a card of 73 on Sunday, one over par, for an overall score of 278 in the tournament’s four rounds at the Augusta National Golf Club, that overall tally being 10 under par, one less than the runner-up, US golfer Will Zalatoris, with 279.

The winner of the 85th Masters led the final round across all 18 holes, going into Sunday’s contest with a four-stroke advantage and shooting 69, 71, 65 and 73 in the tourney’s four rounds over the past four days.

Sharing third place were American golfers Jordan Spieth, the winner of the tourney in 2015, and Xander Schuffele, who fought hard and was definitely in the running for the title up until the 16th hole, when a double bogey knocked him back. Both ended the fourth round with 281, seven under par.

Spain’s Jon Rahm, who on Sunday shot a 66, six under par, ended the tourney in fifth place with an overall score of 282.

The new Masters champion – who received the coveted green jacket from American Dustin Johnson, the winner of the tourney in November, but who this year could not make the cut – will pocket a winner’s purse of $2,070,000.

Matsuyama, who was playing in his 10th Masters, his eighth as a pro, and turned in his best performance so far, had finished tied for fifth place in 2015.

Although he had been ranked as high as No. 2 four years ago and has won five tourneys on the PGA Tour, he had not won a tournament since 2017, had fallen into a slump recently and dropped to No. 25 worldwide.

The win on Sunday will surely make Matsuyama a national hero in Japan, where the public is golf-crazy but where, despite turning out many excellent male golfers, none has ever won a major championship, until now.

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