Hideki Matsuyama survived a splash and a late charge to become first Japanese player to win the Masters

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Tyler Lauletta
·2 min read
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Hideki Matsuyama
Hideki Matsuyama. Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images
  • Hideki Matsuyama held off all challengers to win the 2021 Masters.

  • Matsuyama is the first Japanese player to win the green jacket.

  • The win came thanks to a near-perfect round on Sunday, with Matsuyama surviving one small scare.

  • Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.

Hideki Matsuyama held off all challengers on Sunday at Augusta National to become the first Japanese player to win the green jacket.

Matsuyama entered the day atop the leaderboard, taking a four-stroke advantage into the final round after a thunderous run through the back nine on Saturday. After a nervy bogey on the opening hole, it looked for a moment that his lead could falter early, but Matsuyama bounced back with a birdie at No. 2 and was able to largely go into cruise control through much of the round.

Heading into the back nine, Matsuyama's lead had grown to five strokes on the field, and it felt as though all that was left was for the green jacket to be fitted.

Then, at No. 15, it looked as though the entire tournament had changed. On his second shot on the par 5, Matsuyama punched a four iron past the green, into a downslope, and straight into the water. It was the first true miss he had hit all day.

Adding to the pressure of the moment was Xander Schauffele, who played with Matsuyama in the final group. After Matsuyama's shot in the water, Schauffele responded by nearly holing out from the bunker for eagle. The game was back on.

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Schauffele settled for birdie, and Matsuyama played smart to save bogey, cutting Matsuyama's lead from four strokes to just two strokes with three holes to play.

But just as quickly as Matsuyama's lead was being erased, Schauffele gave it right back.

Playing first off the tee at No. 16, Schauffele missed short, putting his ball in the water and ultimately leaving with a triple-bogey, all but handing the tournament over.

From there, Matsuyama was able to play settled golf through the final three holes of his round and take home the green jacket.

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Ten years ago, Matsuyama finished as the low amateur at the Masters in a performance that announced his potential to the greater golf world.

On Sunday, he achieved the status of national hero, becoming the first Japanese player to win the most prestigious prize in all of golf.

Read the original article on Insider