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Hideki Matsuyama | The Masters

By The Associated Press

AUGUSTA, Ga. — Hideki Matsuyama delivered golf-mad Japan the grandest and greenest prize of all.

Ten years after Matsuyama made a sterling debut as the best amateur at Augusta National, he claimed the ultimate trophy Sunday with a victory in the Masters Tournament to become the first men’s major winner from Japan. 

Matsuyama closed with a 1-over 73 and a one-shot victory that was only close at the end, and never seriously in doubt after Xander Schauffele’s late charge ended with a triple bogey on the par-3 16th.

Moments before Dustin Johnson helped him into the green jacket, Matsuyama needed no interpreter in Butler Cabin when he said in English, “I’m really happy.”

So masterful was this performance that Matsuyama stretched his lead to six shots on the back nine until a few moments of drama. With a four-shot lead, he went for the green in two on the par-5 15th and it bounded hard off the back slope and into the pond on the 16th hole.

Matsuyama did well to walk away with bogey, and with Schauffele making a fourth straight birdie, the lead was down to two shots with three to play.

The next swing all but ended it. Schauffele’s tee shot on the par-3 16th bounced short of the hill and dribbled into the pond. His third shot from the drop area went into the gallery. He ended up with a triple-bogey 6.

Never mind that Matsuyama bogeyed three of his last four holes. All that mattered was that uphill walk to the 18th green, needing only to blast out of the bunker and take two putts for the victory.

That’s what he did, a final bogey for a one-shot victory over 24-year-old Masters rookie Will Zalatoris, who closed with a 70 and stayed on the practice range just in case of a playoff.

Matsuyama finished at 10-under 278 for his 15th victory worldwide, and his sixth on the PGA TOUR.

Driver: Srixon ZX5 (9.5 degrees, flat) – Shaft: Graphite Design Tour AD DI 8 TX

3-wood: TaylorMade SIM2 Titanium (15 degrees) – Shaft: Graphite Design Tour AD TP 9 TX

Utility: TaylorMade SIM UDI (3) – Shaft: True Temper Elevate Tour X100

Irons: Srixon Z-Forged (4-PW) – Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue S400

Wedges: Cleveland RTX 4 Forged Prototype (52-10, 56-8 @57.5, 60-08 @62) – Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue X100 (S400 in 52)

Putter: Scotty Cameron Newport 2 GSS – Grip: Lamkin Deep-Etched Full Cord

Ball: Srixon Z-Star XV

Grips: Iomic X