Hideki Matsuyama of Japan won the 85th Masters on Sunday to become the tournament’s first Asian-born champion and the first Japanese man to win a major golf championship.
Matsuyama began the fourth round with a four-stroke advantage and shot a one-over-par 73 on Sunday to finish the tournament at 10 under par, one stroke ahead of the runner-up, Will Zalatoris, a 24-year-old making his Masters debut.
Matsuyama’s victory will make him a national hero in golf-crazed Japan, which has had a rich history of producing world-class male golfers who have come close to winning a major championship over the past several decades but have fallen short.
Matsuyama’s breakthrough victory comes at a time of unrest over racially targeted violence against Asians and Asian-Americans during the pandemic.
Matsuyama, a five-time winner on the PGA Tour and the low amateur at the 2011 Masters, has long been considered the golfer from Japan who would break through on the sport’s biggest stage for men. Two Japanese women have been major champions.