• April 19, 2024

Masters 2021: Hideki Matsuyama leads from Justin Rose, Xander Schauffele at Augusta National

-11 H Matsuyama (Jpn); -7 X Schauffele (US), M Leishman (Aus), J Rose (Eng), W Zalatoris (US); -6 C Conners (can); -5 J Spieth (USA); -4 B Harman (USA)
Selected others: -2 R MacIntyre (Sco); +1 M. Laird (Sco), T. Fleetwood (Eng), M. Fitzpatrick (Eng), M. Wallace (Eng); +3 I Poulter (Eng), T. Hatton (Eng); +4 P Casey (Eng)

Hideki Matsuyama shot a 65 on Saturday to put a four-shot lead on the final day of the Masters as he wants to be the first Japanese to win a major.

The 29-year-old completed the first round at Augusta National without a bogey this week to bring the Englishman Justin Rose to the top and to lead under at 11.

Overnight Guide Rose climbed to a 72 and is one of four under seven.

The Americans Xander Schauffele and Will Zalatoris and the Australian Marc Leishman are also associated with Rose.

Schauffele had four birdies, an eagle and two bogeys in his 68s, while Leishman had four birdies in his 70s.

2015 champion Jordan Spieth is back two more after recovering from a double bogey at seven to reach a par 72 level that leaves him under at five.

The Scot Robert MacIntyre is on his Masters debut after a second 70 in a row in second place under par and exchanged six birdies with four bogeys.

“When the wind has calmed down, you can somehow make it. I’m happy with the game over the last few days,” said the 24-year-old.

World number two Justin Thomas started the day three strokes behind but had a difficult lap, doing four bogeys and a triple bogey eight at 13 to slip to one under par.

Game was suspended for more than an hour on Saturday due to a Georgia storm.

Matsuyama makes his move

Matsuyama did laps of 69 and 71 to keep himself within reach on the way to the weekend, and started day three at the pace set by Rose.

The number 25 in the world started steadily with pars on his first six holes before a birdie at seven preceded an impressive run.

After Rose dropped the shots in fourth and fifth, the former world number two carded two consecutive birdies in 11th and 12th to take part of the lead with the Englishman.

That turned into a three-way tie for the top spot when Zalatoris, who played alongside Rose in the final pairing, finished 10th.

Schauffele briefly managed to put four players in the lead with an eagle in 15th place, only that Rose made a birdie 12 moments later and was clear again at eight o’clock.

But it was Matsuyama who, seconds later, took the lead with his own eagle on the 15th to go under nine.

Matsuyama, who has finished eight top ten finals in a major’s finals, extended his lead to two after landing his par-3 tee shot four yards from the pin before heading for birdie was looking for.

He extended that advantage to three strokes with a 10-foot birdie putt at 17 and made a clever up and down to save par at 18 and take the lead in the clubhouse.

Matsuyama, who has two top 10 finishes at Augusta National, is the first Japanese player to lead a round in the Masters.

“I didn’t make a very good run before the horn sounded, but after the restart I hit practically every stroke the way I wanted it,” he said after playing the last eight holes in six under par.

“It will be a new experience for me to be a leader going into the finals of a major. All I can do is relax, prepare well and do my best.”

Rose gets up to keep in touch

Justin Rose has already led seven rounds in the Masters

Rose’s fights during the first two rounds had come in the first seven holes, while on no day after that he had built a bogey.

The 40-year-old started with a birdie birdie on Saturday before being slipped back to four and five with consecutive bogies. However, this meant he was still one stroke ahead when the hooter sounded on the seventh green.

An hour and 18 minutes later, the Englishman returned, finishing the first nine with a series of pars.

Rose appeared to be in trouble on the 11th after finding the trees at the bottom right and then the bunker, but knocked out to one foot for a tap-in par and then made 12 birdie.

He made two excellent pars on the 14th and 15th holes after hitting his approach shots through the green.

The two-time Masters runner-up dropped to seven at 16, but finished the race with two more scrambling pars, including a 10-foot putt on the last to keep himself competitive.

“It was a difficult day when the storm was approaching, it was really windy,” said Rose. “When we got back out we felt like there was some time to score, but then the greens got really slower.

“There were definitely some tricky moments out there. I had to work hard and after 12 holes I thought I was in a nice place. Hideki hit the jets and I hit the brakes a bit, that was the difference.

“A lot has to do with how Hideki plays, but there’s a big chase ahead of us. We’re in a good place.”


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