Imperial and historic: Hideki Matsuyama on Sunday became the first Japanese in history to triumph in a Grand Slam golf tournament, at the Augusta Masters in addition, where he ended up resisting tremendous pressure.
Hideki Matsuyama became the first Japanese to win the Augusta Masters, 85th named, and at the same time a Grand Slam golf tournament on Sunday in Georgia (United States).
Aged 29, he made a final card of -10, beating the American Will Zalatoris, author of a superb performance for his very first participation, by one stroke, and his compatriots Xander Sc Chaudele and Jordan Spieth by three strokes. Succeeding American Dustin Johnson on the list, the 25th player in the world, who is expected to make a significant leap to the top of the rankings, now has six USPGA titles, including two WGC World Championships, which had earned him a second world rank in 2017.
But this victory is without question the most prestigious of all, rewarding a player as talented as discreet, who enjoyed the places of honor in the Majors (5th in the Masters 2015, 2nd in the US Open 2017, 4th in the PGA Championship 2016, 6th at the British Open 2013). This coronation in Georgia is the first for a golfer coming from the “land of the rising sun”, of which he was already a pioneer, in that he was the first amateur of his country to take part in 2011 and the only one to spend there. the cut, then finishing 27th and winning the Silver Cup, awarded to the best non-professional in contention.
The day after his impressive seizure of power at the expense of the experienced Englishman Justin Rose who finished 6th in the end, he made a solid first part of the course: after a bogey from the first hole, he quickly took off. resumed by making a birdie on the second. Just after missing one at N.7, he managed two more at N.8 and N.9, increasing his lead to five lengths over Zalatoris.
Then, in the “back nine”, Matsuyama almost agreed with observers who lent him a tendency to crack under pressure. If he wiped out a bogey at 11 by birdie at 12, after being lucky enough to have his approach kicked back into the grass by a tree, he sent his ball into the river at 15 for a new bogey.
Xander ScHotele, chained him his fourth birdie in a row and came back to two shots (-12 to -10). But at the next hole it was the American who did the Japanese a favor by sending the ball in turn into the water, committing a triple bogey which destroyed his ascent.
Proof that he was not completely reassured, Matsuyama again conceded a bogey on this N.16, counting again only two lengths on Zalatoris, this time, who had just finished. On the last two holes, the Japanese just had to take no chances to avoid making more mistakes, which he did, as calmly as possible.