Augusta National Golf Club, Augusta, GA — April 11, 2021
Hideki Matsuyama teed off with a four-stroke lead on the final day of The Masters Tournament. By the time he finished the 1st hole, three of those strokes had disappeared. Will Zalatoris birdied the first two holes while Matsuyama was walking to his ball deep into the trees to the right off the first tee.
Matsuyama rallied for bogey, but the damage was done. Matsuyama -10, Zalatoris -9. A hole later, Matsuyama scrambled for a birdie on the 2nd. Zalatoris bogeyed the 3rd and the lead went back up to 3 strokes. The pressure of the final round was felt early.
After the opening bobble, Matsuyama steadied himself and ran off five straight pars. Birdies on 8 & 9 along with Zalatoris bogeys on 10 and 12 and the lead had grown to 6 strokes. But it’s the final 9 at Augusta that burns you up or stamps you as a champion.
Heading to Amen Corner
On the par-3 12th hole Matsuyama knocked it over the green into the left bunker framed by the azaleas on this devilish 155-yard hole over water. A safe out of the sand trap left his ball on the back fringe, not taking any chances with the water off the front of the green. Two putts and the lead was now 5 strokes.
With no one making a run the advantage looked safe. A birdie on the par-5 13th returned the advantage to 6, but Zalatoris soon birdied the par-5 15th. With birdies on four straight holes, 12 through 15, Xander Schauffele got to 10 under. Matsuyama overcooked his iron shot into the 15th green, the ball hit the downslope on the back of the green and it rolled into the water on the adjacent 16th hole.
Another safe chip and Matsuyama lay four, just off the back of the green. Two puts and the lead was down to two. Schauffele, playing with the leader, was able to see the potential to close the gap further on the par-3 16th.
Zalatoris birdied the 17th and closed to within 3 strokes at 9 under. Jordan Spieth, teeing off on the 18th, was at 8 under. John Rahm was the leader in the clubhouse at 6 under, after a final round 66.
Schauffele hit his tee shot just short of the greenside bunker protecting the final day hole location on the 16th. Unfortunately, it did not catch the putting surface and bounced off the bank and into the water. Hitting from the drop zone he flew his 3rd shot into the patrons behind the green. A chip and two putts resulted in a triple-bogey 6 and Schauffele’s dreams of a green jacket disappeared.
Matsuyama safely avoided the water but left his tee-shot high above the hole with a wicked left-to-right break. Putting with his back to the hole, he blew past the cup leaving an uphill putt to save par. He missed! With a chance to sew up the first major championship win for a golfer from Japan, Matsuyama now had to sweat out the final two holes.
Zalatoris birdied the 17th and sunk a long par putt on 18 to post a score of 9 under in the clubhouse. Matsuyama, at 11 under, needed two solid holes to secure the win. Perfectly placed shots on the 17th gave him the par-4 and he held the 2-stroke lead to the 18th tee.
Matsuyama Dons the Green Jacket
Straight down the middle of the fairway on 18 and Matsuyama passed the biggest test on the final hole. With 135 yards to the pin, his pitching wedge was pin-high but drifted right into the greenside bunker. One last bit of drama.
Safely out of the trap to within 6 feet of the hole and Matsuyama had two putts for the win. He used both of them to finish at 10 under, a single stroke ahead of Zalatoris. He needed every bit of margin that he built for himself, but it won’t matter at all when the Green Jacket slides onto his shoulders.
The Final Day Leaderboard at the 2021 Masters
|Rank||Name||Round 1||Round 2||Round 3||Round 4||Total|
|1||Hideki Matsuyama||69||71||65||73||-10 (278)|
|2||Will Zalatoris||70||68||71||70||-9 (279)|
|3t||Xander Schauffele||72||69||68||72||-7 (281)|
|3t||Jordan Spieth||71||68||72||70||-7 (281)|
|5t||Marc Leishman||72||67||70||73||-6 (282)|
|5t||Jon Rahm||72||72||72||66||-6 (282)|
|7||Justin Rose||65||72||72||74||-5 (283)|
|8t||Corey Conners||73||69||68||74||-4 (284)|
|8t||Patrick Reed||70||75||70||69||-4 (284)|
|10t||Tony Finau||74||66||73||72||-3 (285)|
|10t||Cameron Smith||74||68||73||70||-3 (285)|
|12t||Stewart Cink||74||69||72||71||-2 (286)|
|12t||Brian Harman||69||69||74||74||-2 (286)|
|12t||Si Woo Kim||71||69||74||72||-2 (286)|
|12t||Robert MacIntyre||74||70||70||72||-2 (286)|
|12t||Kevin Na||75||70||70||71||-2 (286)|
|12t||Webb Simpson||70||76||70||70||-2 (286)|
|18t||Tyrrell Hatton||71||74||74||68||-1 (287)|
|18t||Collin Morikawa||73||69||75||70||-1 (287)|
|18t||Scottie Scheffler||73||72||71||71||-1 (287)|
|21t||Harris English||74||71||73||70||E (288)|
|21t||Viktor Hovland||73||70||72||73||E (288)|
|21t||Shane Lowry||71||73||72||72||E (288)|
|21t||Phil Mickelson||75||72||69||72||E (288)|
|21t||Justin Thomas||73||67||75||73||E (288)|
|26t||Abraham Ancer||75||69||75||70||+1 (289)|
|26t||Paul Casey||73||74||73||69||+1 (289)|
|26t||Cameron Champ||72||68||77||72||+1 (289)|
|26t||Matt Jones||74||69||74||72||+1 (289)|
|26t||Louis Oosthuizen||76||70||72||71||+1 (289)|
|26t||Ian Poulter||74||73||72||70||+1 (289)|
|26t||Charl Schwartzel||74||71||72||72||+1 (289)|
|26t||Bubba Watson||74||70||73||72||+1 (289)|
|34t||Matthew Fitzpatrick||74||70||73||73||+2 (290)|
|34t||Ryan Palmer||74||68||73||75||+2 (290)|
|34t||Michael Thompson||72||72||75||71||+2 (290)|
|34t||Matt Wallace||74||72||71||73||+2 (290)|
|38t||Martin Laird||74||71||72||74||+3 (291)|
|38t||Henrik Stenson||73||71||71||76||+3 (291)|
|40t||Christiaan Bezuidenhout||70||76||74||72||+4 (292)|
|40t||Mackenzie Hughes||72||72||72||76||+4 (292)|
|40t||Sebastian Munoz||74||73||71||74||+4 (292)|
|40t||Joaquin Niemann||75||71||70||76||+4 (292)|
|40t||Bernd Wiesberger||74||66||74||78||+4 (292)|
|40t||Gary Woodland||73||72||75||72||+4 (292)|
|46t||Bryson DeChambeau||76||67||75||75||+5 (293)|
|46t||Tommy Fleetwood||74||70||73||76||+5 (293)|
|46t||Brendon Todd||73||71||76||73||+5 (293)|
|49||Jason Kokrak||71||76||71||77||+7 (295)|
|50t||Billy Horschel||76||71||73||76||+8 (296)|
|50t||Jose Maria Olazabal||75||71||75||75||+8 (296)|
|52||Francesco Molinari||74||73||69||81||+9 (297)|
|53||Jim Herman||76||70||76||76||+10 (298)|
|54||Adam Scott||74||73||79||73||+11 (299)|