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Hideki Matsuyama wins 2021 Masters, claiming first major of career

Hideki Matsuyama won the green jacket thanks to strong performances on Thursday and Saturday. This marked his first career major victory.

Hideki Matsuyama plays his shot from the 14th teeduring the final round of The Masters golf tournament. Rob Schumacher-USA TODAY Sports

The golf-mad nation of Japan can celebrate their first-ever Masters champion, as Hideki Matsuyama cruised to a one-shot victory in the 2021 Masters on Sunday. This also marked the first major victory of his career.

Matsuyama finished with a final score of -10 (278), one shot ahead of Will Zalatoris at -9. Despite some troubles on the second nine, he never relinquished the four-shot lead with which he started the round. He shot +1 on the last day of the tournament, and watched the rest of the field fail to make enough shots on a particularly difficult Masters Sunday track.

Matsuyama was not exactly considered in good form on the way to Augusta National. Last November, following the 2020 Masters, Matsuyama opened at +2500 win to the Masters at DraftKings Sportsbook. He finished 13th at the 2020 Masters and then stumbled from there. He tied for 15th at the WGC-Workday, 18th at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, and 19th at the Sony Open. However, in the time after last year’s Masters he also missed two cuts and finished 30th or worse in five tournaments. That saw his odds slip to +4000 as of this year’s Masters week.

His best result in a previous Masters was fifth in 2015, and his best major finish was T2 at the 2017 US Open. He has five PGA Tour wins, including two WGC Championships, but none since 2017.