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The World Has Its First Japanese Winner of the Masters

Hideki Matsuyama wears the green jacket
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Apr 12, 2021 12:00 AM CDT

(Newser) – Hideki Matsuyama delivered golf-mad Japan the grandest and greenest prize of all. Ten years after Matsuyama made a sterling debut as the best amateur at Augusta National, he claimed the ultimate trophy Sunday with a victory in the Masters to become the first Japanese winner of the green jacket, the AP reports. Matsuyama closed with a 1-over 73 and a one-shot victory that was only close at the end, and never seriously in doubt after Xander Schauffele’s late charge ended with a triple bogey on the par-3 16th. Moments before Dustin Johnson helped him into the green jacket, Matsuyama needed no interpreter in Butler Cabin when he said in English, “I’m really happy.”

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The 29-year-old Matsuyama hopes to "be a pioneer and many other Japanese will follow,” he said. He becomes the second man from an Asian country to win a major. Y.E. Yang of South Korea won the 2009 PGA Championship at Hazeltine over Tiger Woods. Returning to the 18th green for the trophy presentation, he again put on the green jacket and raised both arms in triumph. Augusta National allowed limited spectators, believed to be about 8,000 a day. Most of the media was absent this year due to COVID-19 travel restrictions, and Matsuyama had said on the eve of the final round that it has been a lot less stress. (More on his performance, which included some drama, here.)

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