Hideki Matsuyama might have only won the Masters by a single stroke when it was all said and done, but very few people, particularly those from Japan, will care very much about that. In truth, it wasn’t as close as it appeared, as the steady 29-year-old largely cruised around Augusta in control much of Sunday’s fourth and final round of action. Coming into the day with a four-shot lead, he saw that lead dwindle to one after just one hole. However, it would increase back to three soon thereafter, and he would be able to methodically play the rest of the course. At the end, when the dust had settled, he was a single shot ahead of relative unknown Will Zalatoris at -10.
Matsuyama finished with a +1 73 for the final round, with bogeys coming on two of the final four holes, including the 18th. It wasn’t meaningful, though, as he had built a big enough lead to help him overcome the obstacles. At long last, there is a major winner from the nation of Japan. It’s all the more special, too, as Matsuyama was the low amateur nearly a decade ago as Augusta allowed the Asian amateur champion to play. This is the springboard the game needed in that part of the world, and they finally have their champ. Now, the expectations will grow, as there will no doubt be more pressure for him to add more trophies and accolades in the years to come.