AUGUSTA, Ga. – Hideki Matsuyama was 5-under par and two strokes off the lead Saturday when the third spherical of the Masters was interrupted by an hour-and-18 minute weather delay. Looking for a approach to fill the time, he went to his automobile in the car parking zone, pulled out his cellular phone and began enjoying video games.
From now on, all golfers in every single place ought to wait out a rain delay of their vehicles, on their cell telephones, enjoying games. That’s as a result of when Masters play resumed, Matsuyama rampaged by his ultimate eight holes in a shocking six-under par, together with 4 birdies and an eagle, to leap right into a startling four-shot lead heading into Sunday’s ultimate spherical.
“Maybe I wouldn’t have believed it,” he stated later by an interpreter, and that made all the sense in the world. Who would have? He had simply hit his worst shot of the week, he stated later – a wayward drive into the bushes far proper of the eleventh fairway – but when he got here again after chilling in his automobile, he discovered a gap to the inexperienced together with his method and sank a 19-foot birdie putt to go to 6-under par.
“I just figured I can’t hit anything worse than that,” he stated of the drive. “Maybe it relieved some pressure, I don’t know, but I did hit it well coming in after the delay.”
Unlike a few of his prime opponents who appeared to have hassle determining simply how a lot the rain slowed down the greens, altering not solely the golf course but in addition the match, Matsuyama seemed as if he flipped a change the second he returned.
He birdied the par-3 twelfth from 10 ft, eagled the par-5 fifteenth from 6 ft, birdied the par-3 sixteenth from 4 ft and birdied the par-4 seventeenth from 11 ft. When he saved par on 18 from behind the inexperienced, he ended with a 7-under 65, the solely bogey-free spherical thus far at this Masters, fairly an achievement on a day of shifting skies, from rippling winds to rain to a relaxing softness to complete issues off.
“I hit every shot practically exactly as I wanted to,” he stated. His 54-hole whole was 11-under par, 4 higher than a quartet of golfers at 7-under, together with first- and second-round chief Justin Rose.
If he retains this up, Matsuyama, 29, would develop into the first male Japanese golfer to win a significant. Two Japanese girls have received majors: Hisako Higuchi received the 1977 LPGA Championship and Hinako Shibuno received the 2019 Women’s British Open.
Last Saturday, his countrywoman, 17-year-old Tsubasa Kajitani, received the Augusta National Women’s Amateur.
Normally, Matsuyama, who first played in the Masters 10 years in the past as an newbie, would have a big gathering of Japanese reporters and photographers following his each transfer. But due to COVID-19 journey restrictions, the media pack is nearly non-existent.
He was requested if that maybe lessens the stress on him this week.
“I’m not sure how to answer this in a good way,” he stated, “but being in front of the media is still difficult. I’m glad the media are here covering it, but it’s not my favorite thing to do, to stand and answer questions. And so with fewer media, it’s been a lot less stressful for me, and I’ve enjoyed this week.”
The actual take a look at is available in Sunday’s ultimate spherical. “It will be a new experience for me, being the leader in the final round in a major,” he stated. “All I can do is relax.”
Japanese journalists won’t be right here in drive, however he is aware of the eyes of a golf-loving nation most positively might be on him.
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