Matsuyama Makes History as First Japanese to Win Masters

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Hideki Matsuyama won the Masters Tournament by one shot on Sunday, becoming the first Japanese to claim one of the four majors in men’s golf.

The 29-year-old from the island of Shikoku -- a five-time champion on the PGA Tour -- entered the final day with a four-stroke lead and, but for a couple of slight wobbles including finding water at the 15th, was rarely put under significant pressure on the lush fairways and manicured greens at Augusta National in Georgia.

He shot a 1-over-par round of 73, ending the tournament at 10-under, ahead of Will Zalatoris in second place. Xander Schauffele and Jordan Spieth were two shots further back and tied for third. Dustin Johnson, last year’s champion, didn’t survive the two-round cut.

Matsuyama Makes History as First Japanese to Win Masters

Matsuyama surged to the head of the pack on Saturday after he returned to the course following a 75-minute rain delay. He blitzed the final eight holes in 6-under par, vaulting him into a lead that he never relinquished. He’ll now be eligible to play in every future Masters.

A decade after making his tournament debut as the Asia-Pacific Amateur winner, Matsuyama is set to return to his native Japan as a national hero.

Shares of companies involved in the golf industry surged in Tokyo. Sumitomo Rubber Industries Ltd., which makes the Srixon clubs used by Matsuyama, gained as much as 4.4%, while clothing supplier Descente Ltd. climbed 5.1%. Media firm Value Golf Inc. climbed as much as 19%, while retailer Golf Do Co. jumped 17% and Graphite Design Inc., a maker of plastic shafts used in golf clubs, rallied 18%.

“It was really wonderful ... as the coronavirus pandemic drags on, he has moved the Japanese people and given us courage,” Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said on Monday. “Matsuyama is still young and I have great expectations for his future.”

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