With Hideki Matsuyama, an entire country won the Masters tournament on Sunday in Augusta, Georgia.
Golf is very popular in Japan, with nearly 10 million players. Every year, thousands of them storm the most exclusive lands on the planet, from Pebble Beach to St Andrews. However, the Japanese were still waiting for the first champion of a major title.
Matsuyama brilliantly put an end to this deficiency by winning a cumulative score of 278 (-10) and a priority over American Will Zalatores, a major breakthrough for the tournament. Xander Sc Chaudele and Jordan Spieth shared third, three hits behind the champ.
When he started the final round with four strokes, Matsuyama had to fight all day to maintain his lead. And while we’d think the hardest part was done after a 13-year-old birde Hall gave it a five-shot priority, and a string of three ghosts in the final four holes made it all into question.
“I’m really happy, relieved,” said Matsuyama, before receiving his green jacket from champion Dustin Johnson last fall. Not only were my nerves getting over my nine back, I was already very nervous since my first shot and it stayed that way until my last shot. ”
Despite the time difference, millions of fans watched the tournament on Japanese TV. Also, in Japanese, the hero answered questions, even if most of the media representatives in his country, who usually follow him, had to stay home due to the epidemic. This was also the case for the golfer’s family and relatives.
“I’ve been thinking about them all day long and I’m really glad I played well with them,” Matsuyama said. I know this victory means a lot to my country. “
I hope to be a pioneer, and many other Japanese golfers will follow my beware. It would be nice if we had paved the way.
Matsuyama also welcomed his compatriot Tsubasa Kagitani, winner last Saturday, in the Augusta National Club’s second amateur championship.
The Japanese is only the second Asian player to win a major championship, after South Korean YE Yang, winner of the PGA Championship in 2009. Before him, his compatriot Isao Aoki scored the best result of a Japanese player, finishing second at the US Open, 1980.
More than thirty Japanese have competed in the Masters since Toichi Toda in 1936, with the best result being fourth place for Shinjo Katayama in 2009. Matsuyama was a junior player at the time, but he emerged two years later. By winning the Asia Pacific Amateur Championship and getting invited to Augusta.
At 27 on his debut, he has since scored 10 Top 10 In major majors, including his second-place finish at the 2017 US Open, which put him second in the world, the best classification of his career a little behind in recent years – it slipped to 25e Rank -, Matsuyama focused on the major tournaments and on Sunday found a dedication that secured a spot in his country’s Pantheon.
Zalatoris will have his role
Rarely did a beginner feel comfortable in Augusta like Will Zalatores. The 24-year-old is not yet a regular member of the PGA Tour, but will still be seen a lot in the Masters.
The American was one of the few players to approach Matsuyama on Sunday, returning with just two strikes behind the Japanese with the first two planes in the first two holes, then two more late in the tour. Zalatoris was ultimately the only player to sign four cards with scores below 72 (70-68-71-70).
The player who had been trying to become Augusta’s first rookie champ since 1979 played with rare confidence, wrapping up his tour with a superb shot to draw at 18.e Hole, which earned him a portfolio of 1.24 million, is clearly the largest of his young career (champion Matsuyama got 2.07 million).
Coming from a very wealthy background, Zalatoris trained in private clubs and at Wake Forest University, and Zalatoris still attends his junior circuit lessons, having started to shine last season. But it is ambitious!
“I always wanted to be here,” he explained at a press conference. Some players are scared of this stadium and this tournament, but I’m excited to be here. I know I still have a lot to do, and I still have to work, but I know I have my place here! “
I’m proud of my performance, but I also feel like I missed an opportunity to win, and it’s amazing to think that this happened at the Masters.
Xander Scheatele finished second at the start of the last round, and it was an eventful day in the final set alongside Matsuyama. A wave of four birds of 12e Up to 15e The holes allowed him to return to anxiety from the norm, but he caused a triple spore catastrophe at the age of 16e Pit to spoil all his chances.
«Hideki [Matsuyama] I opened the door with a bug at 15e A pit and may have been slightly pumped on Hill 16e, ScHotele recognized. The wind is very fickle on this hole and I miscalculated my first blow, which ended up in the water. ”
The American, whose mother was Japanese and spoke this little language, proved himself a good player by being the first to congratulate the hero. For his part, Speth agreed that he was too far from the leader. “I was supposed to make an exceptional start to the tour and that wasn’t the case,” added the winner at the Texas Open last Sunday.
Spaniard John Ram signed the best final round with 66 points, which allowed him to return to fifth place, tying with Australian Mark Leichman.
England’s Justin Rose, who was dominant in the first two rounds, had a more difficult day and settled in seventh. “ Weirdly, you might have played better today [dimanche]But my racket let me down. With the wind, the flags were hard to target and I needed a little bit of luck over the Greens. I didn’t have one … ”
Canadian Corey Konners, who was trying to emulate Mike Weir, the only Canadian player to win the Masters (in 2003), was still in the fray at the start of the final round. Five hits behind the leader, after rounds of 73, 69 and 68, Ontario could not move forward and played their worst round in the tournament, 74 which left him in eighth place. , To – 4.
Teammate Mackenzie Hughes, who had signed three cards in a row from 72 draws, could not do better than 76 on Sunday, finishing 40.e Ring.
Congratulations from Tiger Woods
Although he was not in Augusta, Tiger Woods did not fail to highlight the victory of Hideki Matsuyama, whom he described as “a colossal achievement for the player and his country”. This historic victory will have an impact on everyone in golf. ”