AUGUSTA, Ga. — Moving Day at The Masters all the time brings wild momentum shifts, however it’s been awhile since Augusta National has seen a 90-second stretch fairly like what unfolded at about 6:22 p.m. Eastern.
With the shadows lengthy and the rain sprinkling, Justin Rose, Will Zalatoris and Hideki Matsuyama stood tied at 7-under. Matsuyama and his enjoying accomplice, Xander Schauffele (-5), had been on the par-5 fifteenth, whereas Rose and Zalatoris had been again at the twelfth. The leaderboard was tight, however it was about to burst huge open.
First, Schauffele drained an astounding 61-foot eagle, placing him right into a four-way tie for the lead.
Seconds later, over on 12, Rose retook the lead at -8 with a gentle 27-foot birdie putt. But Rose’s maintain on the lead lasted for just a few seconds, as Matsuyama capitalized on an excellent strategy to gap a six-foot eagle putt and take the lead at -9.
Zalatoris, in the meantime, rolled in a routine par on 12 … and immediately discovered himself two strokes out of the lead. It did not take lengthy for him to have some firm.
Matsuyama, who began the day three again of Rose, the 36-hole chief, stepped on the gasoline. He birdied 16, then 17. And when Rose gave one again at 16, Matsuyama was immediately 4 away from the field heading into Sunday’s closing spherical. A 77-minute rain delay softened up the course, and nobody took benefit fairly like Matsuyama.
Following the storm, Matsuyama completed the day with a 7-under 65, matching the greatest spherical of this match to date. And will now have the eyes of a whole nation on him. No Japanese participant had ever held the lead after any spherical at Augusta. Until Saturday. And no Japanese participant has ever received a significant.
Matsuyama has made a behavior of placing himself in competition. He’s completed second at the U.S. Open, fourth at the PGA, fifth at the Masters and sixth at The Open.
Rose, in the meantime, was unable to make the most of the type situations. A late, steel-nerves par save on 18 stored him inside 4 strokes, however he nonetheless ended with a straight-par 72 to remain at -7.
Further down the leaderboard, massive names didn’t comply with in Matsuyama’s wake. Jordan Spieth additionally ended the day the place he started: at -5, giving away strokes regardless of some sensible saves. Justin Thomas detonated on the thirteenth, triple-bogeying to eject from the competitors.
The largest lead ever overcome in a Masters got here in 1956, when Jack Burke Jr. erased an eight-stroke deficit to run down Ken Venturi. Matsuyama may have a whole field pursuing him, however all the closest ones — Rose, Schauffele, Zalatoris and Marc Leishman — are 4 strokes again.
We already knew there could be a brand new Masters champion when Dustin Johnson imploded on Friday. But now it’s trying an terrible lot like we’ll have a first-time winner, too.
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