By Andrew Both
AUGUSTA, Ga. (Reuters) – Two years after ending one stroke behind champion Tiger Woods on the Masters, Xander Schauffele endured extra disappointment when what he thought was a “perfect” shot completed within the water and value him a chance of profitable on Sunday.
What had gave the impression to be an emphatic Hideki Matsuyama coronation solely an hour earlier instantly grew to become fascinating when Schauffele ran off 4 straight birdies to chop a seven-shot deficit to only two strokes with three holes left at Augusta National.
The strain was very a lot on Matsuyama as Schauffele teed it up on the par-three sixteenth with a chance to stay his ball near the outlet and ratchet the warmth up one more notch.
Deciding on an eight-iron, Schauffele hit what he thought was a well-executed shot. But his ball landed in need of the inexperienced and bounced left into the pond, falling sufferer, he mentioned, to a gust of wind.
His subsequent triple-bogey allowed Matsuyama to breathe simpler, although ultimately the Japanese participant nonetheless had his work lower out to outlast American Will Zalatoris by one stroke.
And although the historical past books will eternally present Zalatoris was runner-up, it’s Schauffele who will surprise most what may need been.
Only he and Zalatoris had been in a position to problem Matsuyama, who grew to become the primary man from his nation to win a serious championship.
“I felt like I made it exciting at the end, hit a really good shot on 16,” Schauffele mentioned after carding an even-par 72 to tie for third with Jordan Spieth, three pictures behind Matsuyama.
“I hit a perfect shot. It got smoked and eaten up (by the wind). You could kind of see it. The ball hovered there.
“I made a mistake on shot choice … and the remainder is historical past.”
Schauffele teed off equal second with Zalatoris, Englishman Justin Rose and Australian Marc Leishman, however the latter two had been by no means an element after matching bogeys on the first gap.
(Reporting by Andrew Both; Editing by Kenneth Maxwell)