History has been made once again in Augusta this weekend as Hideki Matsuyama became the first Japanese golfer to win a men’s major championship. Will Zalatoris also making headlines as he finished just one stroke behind Matsuyama as he attempted to become the first player since Fuzzy Zoeller in 1979 to win in his Master’s debut. Let’s take a look at how the weekend unfolded.
Augusta National is known for being an extremely difficult course due to its firm and fast conditions and this weekend was proof of that with just 12 players breaking par on the first day. Justin Rose was at the front of the pack after day one with a four-stroke lead over Matsuyama. Playing his best round ever at the Masters, Rose surprised many with his seven birdies and an eagle through his last 12 holes to take the lead.
What a show from Justin Rose 🙌
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) April 8, 2021
Zalatoris turned eyes in his Master’s debut when he finished day one tied for fourth and just five shots behind Rose. He also went viral on Twitter not only for being someone no one has ever heard of but for sharing the looks of actor Owen Wilson as well as similarities to Adam Sandler’s caddie in the movie Happy Gilmore.
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) April 11, 2021
— John Hart (@JohnHartWJBF) April 11, 2021
Day two proved to be more exciting as nearly half of the field was able to shoot under par. With Rose continuing to lead the pack at 7 under and Zalatoris continuing to prevail right behind at 6 under. Nearly a dozen golfers ended the day within striking distance of the lead, an eventful race to the finish in the following two days were certain.
Leaderboard thru 36 holes at #theMasters:
1. @JustinRose99 -7
T2. @WillZalatoris -6
T4. @MarcLeish -5
T6. @BWiesberger -4
T6. Si Woo Kim
T6. Hideki Matsuyama
— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) April 9, 2021
An even more surprising end to Friday was the big named players who missed the cut. After 36 holes have been played only the top 50 players continue to play the final 36 holes. Among the names of players who were ineligible to play after Friday included former champion and front runner Dustin Johnson who finished +5.
Notable players to miss the cut at #TheMasters (OWGR)
Dustin Johnson ( 1)
Patrick Cantlay (10)
Brooks Koepka (11)
Rory McIlroy (12)
Daniel Berger (15)
Sungjae Im (19)
Lee Westwood (20) pic.twitter.com/ren5kltpVv
— The First Cut Podcast (@FirstCutPod) April 9, 2021
Day three, moving day, when leaders emerge and players fall under the pressure. The leaderboard began to tighten and Hideki Matsuyama became the new leader at 11 under and four shots clear of Rose. Rain moved in and players experienced a 78-minute weather delay as Augusta National announced playing conditions were deemed too dangerous. When play resumed, the greens were slower and for the first time all week, they showed some give. Although it was only about an hour of stoppage, the course was completely different when players returned.
Hideki Matsuyama was 1-under before the weather delay.
He played his final 8 holes after the delay in 6-under. 🤯 pic.twitter.com/UusRYd9Xr1
— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) April 11, 2021
Matsuyama started pulling away with the lead on Sunday as he had a five-shoot lead at the turn over Zalatoris. Things suddenly started getting exciting as Xander Schauffele rose to the top as he birdied holes 12-15 while Matsuyama boogied hole 15. The lead closed to two stokes and made for an exciting end to the weekend. As Schauffele struggled on the last few holes, Matsuyama was able to hold the lead and take the win.
The final day was proof that Zalatoris is a new name to watch out for as he finished the tournament in second, just one stroke behind Matsuyama. As the new 27th ranked player in the world and the only player to shoot under par in all four rounds this week, Zalatoris is becoming a name to watch. Jordan Spieth has also proven a lot this weekend, and it’s that he is back. With his big win last week in Texas and his third-place finish at Augusta, Jordan Spieth is proving that he is back to being a serious contender.
To say the end of the tournament was emotional is an understatement. The perfect end to the weekend was Matsuyama’s caddie, Shota Hayafuji as he took off his hat and took a bow to the course. This win has been historic not only for Matsuyama and the Master’s but for Japan as a country and will impact the entire golf world.
This was really, really, really cool. pic.twitter.com/w8GEThjzWL
— Chad Coleman (@HashtagChad) April 11, 2021
Making Japan proud Hideki. Congratulations on such a huge accomplishment for you and your country. This historical @TheMasters win will impact the entire golf world.
— Tiger Woods (@TigerWoods) April 11, 2021