Matsuyama takes Masters lead


Augusta, April 11

The storms that stopped play for a little more than hour at the Masters were expected. The masterpiece delivered by Hideki Matsuyama after the break was not.

Matsuyama played the final eight holes in 6-under-par, turning a two-shot deficit into a four-shot lead on Saturday.

With four flawless swings and three putts late on the back-nine at Augusta National, he went from part of a logjam on the leaderboard to the cusp of becoming the first Japanese player to win a Major.

The final touch was a superb par save from 25 yards behind the 18th green for a 7-under 65, the only bogey-free round this week at the Masters.

“I wouldn’t have believed it,” Matsuyama said through his interpreter. “But I did play well today. And my game plan was carried out, and hopefully, tomorrow I can continue good form.”

It all started in his car, where the 29-year-old waited out the storm delay. Part of the time was playing on his phone. He also thought about his last shot, a drive into trees right of the 11th fairway.

“During the rain delay, I just figured I can’t hit anything worse than that,” Matsuyama said. “And so maybe it relieved some pressure. I don’t know. But I did hit it well coming in.” — AP



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