AUGUSTA, Ga. — With a four-shot lead coming into the final round, it is perhaps straightforward to assume Hideki Matsuyama will cruise to his first Masters Tournament title, changing into the primary Japanese golfer to win a significant championship.
He’s not prepared for Butler Cabin simply but, nonetheless.
Plenty of fine and unhealthy things can occur within the final 18 holes at Augusta National. Just 5 years in the past, Danny Willett rallied from 5 pictures down within the final six holes to declare the inexperienced jacket.
Here are 5 things we discovered Saturday as we put together for a possible historic Sunday in Augusta.
Patrons react after Hideki Matsuyama performed a chip on the 18th gap during the third round of The Masters golf match. (Photo: Rob Schumacher-USA TODAY Sports)
It would’ve been tough to predict this type of efficiency from Hideki Matsuyama, the No. 25 participant on the earth. The 54-hole chief has solely two top-10s in his final 24 begins on the PGA Tour, going again to March 2020. He’s at all times loved Augusta National, posting 5 top-25s in 9 Masters appearances, together with a low newbie award in his 2011 debut and a sub-72 scoring common over 37 match rounds. Not surprisingly, he’s tied for fifth this week in greens in regulation (72.2 pct.) and is high 20 in placing however he’s exterior the highest 30 in each driving distance and driving accuracy. So concentrate to his tee pictures early within the final round as he chases his first victory because the 2017-18 season. If it’s tight late, Matusyama is 12-over in his Masters profession on the 18th gap. He discovered the green bunker within the third round however acquired up-and-down to make his third par on the closing gap this week.
Like champions of the previous, Matsuyama is crushing the par-5s, which current very important scoring alternatives at Augusta National. He’s 9-under on the 12 par-5s, to this point, making his third eagle of the week Saturday after a phenomenal iron shot into the fifteenth gap. Of those that began Saturday on the leaderboard, Matsuyama greatest used the par-5s to his benefit to take a four-shot lead.
Brian Harman chips on the thirteenth gap during the third round of the 2021 Masters Tournament. (Photo: Rob Schumacher-USA TODAY Sports)
The par-3 4th and par-4 eleventh are tied as probably the most tough greens to hit in regulation this week. The area has discovered these elusive surfaces solely 38 p.c of the time this week, which explains why every is among the many top-four most tough holes for the match. The beefy 495-yard par-4 No. 5 stays the fiercest check of all, yielding solely 5 birdies via 54 holes and a mixed 4.45 stroke common. The area is a cumulative 103-over par on No. 5, hitting the inexperienced solely 40 p.c of the time and needing a median of 1.721 putts to discover the opening after reaching it in regulation.
There are 5 gamers inside 5 pictures of the lead coming into the final round and a scarcity of latest profitable expertise between them. Xander Schauffele hasn’t gained because the 2019 Sentry Tournament of Champions. Marc Leishman is on a 14-month drought as he pursues his sixth PGA Tour title. Former World No. 1 Justin Rose claimed the latest of his 10 victories in January 2019 at Torrey Pines. Corey Conners has gained as soon as — the Valero Texas Open in 2019 during the week earlier than the Masters to earn the final spot within the area. Will Zalatoris, in his first season on the PGA Tour, is winless. Rose is the one one of many quintet with a significant championship to his credit score, profitable the 2013 U.S. Open at Merion.
There have been fewer disasters at Augusta National within the third round, simply 15 double bogeys and three others from the 54 gamers who survived the 36-hole minimize. Still, the entrance left gap location on No. 7, perched simply past the bunker on a shelf, posed issues for the sector. The 450-yard par-4 was probably the most tough gap within the third round, enjoying to a 4.556 stroke common and permitting solely two birdies. The area was a cumulative 30-over par. The opponents can anticipate a a lot simpler endeavor Sunday, assuming the championship committee places the opening within the conventional location within the entrance proper portion of the inexperienced.