Hideki Matsuyama was in a class of his own on a rain-interrupted moving day at Augusta, and he'll take a four-shot lead into the final round
Hideki Matsuyama Surges Clear At The Masters
Hideki Matsuyama put on an exhibition on a rain-interrupted moving day to open up a four-shot lead at top of the leaderboard.
The Japanese was in a class of his own, and came home in just 30 shots en route to posting a scintillating 65.
Four players share second – Xander Schauffele (68), Marc Leishman (70), Justin Rose (72) and Will Zalatoris (71), whilst Corey Conners (68) sits one shot further back.
With top ten finishes in all four Major Championships, Matsuyama has long been talked about as a Major winner in waiting.
And on Sunday he’ll look to become Japan’s first Masters champion.Moving day took a while to warm-up, but it started to simmer before play was suspended because of bad weather shortly before 4pm local time.
Overnight leader, Rose had made the perfect start with birdies at the first two holes to get to nine under.
However, bunker trouble cost him bogeys at 4 and 5, and, as he started to struggle with his swing, only his short game kept him out in front.
Hideki Turns The Screw
It wasn’t until after the rain delay – which kept the players off the course for an hour-and-a-quarter – that the 85th Masters really took shape.
The rain softened the greens, and it was Matsuyama who took full advantage.
After back-to-back birdies on 11 and 12, he joined Rose at the top of the leaderboard on seven under.
And the pair soon had company, in the form of Masters debutant, Zalatoris, and Schauffele, who holed a tramliner for eagle on 15.
Matsuyama, though, found an extra gear.
He too eagled the 15th, before picking up further shots at 16 and 17.
And when he made a terrific up-and-down from the back of 18, he became the first player to go bogey free for the week.
Spieth Six BackFor those doing the chasing, it must have been rather disheartening.
American duo Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas looked set to emerge from the chasing pack, and whilst the former still has an outside chance, Thomas’ eight on 13 looks to have ended his hopes of pulling on the Green Jacket.
Spieth cannot be ruled out – not with his fighting qualities and love for Augusta.
The American made a mess of the par-4 7th, where he racked up a double after flying the green with his approach.
But in typical Spieth fashion, he made a unlikely birdie at the next when well out of position.
Then, on 10, when staring bogey in the face, he pitched in for birdie.
A Rare Ace
It was one of the shots of the day, although there were plenty of highlights, one of which came at the 6th.
Corey Conners recorded the second hole-in-one of this year’s tournament, and it was just the sixth in the hole’s Masters history.
Wherever there was joy, there was frustration.
Bryson DeChambeau’s hopes of building on Friday’s comeback round faded after he double bogeyed the par-3 4th.
He followed that with further dropped shots at 5 and 7, before dumping his tee shot in Rae’s Creek on 12 – which led to another double.
Rose Hangs On
Despite struggling on the back nine, Rose showed his fighting qualities to keep himself in with a chance of winning a second Major and first Green Jacket.
But it’s Matsuyama who has a handy four-shot cushion going into Sunday.
It sounds a lot, but such advantages have been lost; no lead at Augusta is big enough, so they say.
Rose, and anyone within five or six of the lead, will be hoping for a little bit of help from the leader.