Hideki Matsuyama wins 2021 Masters Tournament

Jude Papillion, Sports Editor

On Sunday April 11, Hideki Matsuyama won the 85th Masters Tournament at the Augusta National Golf Club, making history as the first male golfer from Japan to win the Masters and a major golf championship. Matsuyama was followed in the leaderboard by Masters rookie Will Zalatoris, who finished the tournament at 9-under par, and third-place finishers Jordan Spieth and Xander Schauffele, who both finished the tournament 7-under. 

While defending champion Dustin Johnson was present at Butler Cabin to award Matsuyama with his green jacket, his presence was hardly felt in the tournament as he missed the cut shooting 2-over 74 on Thursday and 3-over 75 on Friday, finishing 5-under for the tournament. Johnson was not alone in missing the cut as top ranked golfers Brooks Koepka and Rory McIlroy also failed to gain momentum early in the tournament and did not make it to the weekend. 

The 29-year old Matsuyama’s win comes 10 years after his Masters debut in which he was awarded low amateur honors for finishing 1-under and tied for 27th place in the 2011 Masters. Upon entering the tournament, Matsuyama was seeking his first win since the World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational in August of 2017. 

After shooting 3-under 69 in round one and 1-under 71 in round two, Matsuyama’s win on Sunday was set up by his stellar performance in Saturday’s round three, where he shot a spectacular 7-under 65. In the third round, Matsuyama finished the last eight holes of his round shooting six under par to take a four-shot lead at 11 under. 

On Sunday, Matsuyama shot 1-over 73 to win the Masters by one shot. He started the day by increasing his lead to six shots before making a bogey on the par-5 15th hole. Matsuyama’s lead then fell to two shots, as Schauffele made birdies on the 12th, 13th, 14th and 15th holes. On Augusta’s famous 16th hole, Schauffele’s tee shot bounced off the hill and fell into the pond. Schauffele’s third shot from the drop area then ended up in the gallery, causing him to record a triple-bogey, knocking him out of contention. 

Despite this, Matsuyama bogeyed three of his last four holes, but it did not matter as he became the first Masters champion since Trevor Immelman’s victory over Tiger Woods in 2008 to win the tournament with a final round over par. 

Prior to the tournament, Matsuyama had 40-to-1 odds to win and only 1 percent of tickets and 0.9 percent of all money bet for the tournament placed on him. Despite the odds, Matsuyama walked off the 18th green at Augusta National as the 2021 Masters Tournament champion.