Hideki Matsuyama believes his tied-16th finish at the Masters Tournament will continue to serve as motivation for his fellow Japanese countrymen to shine on the world stage despite not being able to wear the green jacket again for the second time.
“The goal is still to win Majors. That has not changed and I want to continue to motivate myself and my fellow compatriots to challenge for top honours on the international stage,” said Matsuyama.
Matsuyama, the only Japanese to have won the Masters in 2021, signed off with a three-over-par 75 for a four-day total of two-under-par 286 to finish 10 shots back of Spain’s Jon Rahm, who survived a marathon 30 holes on Sunday to win the Masters.
The 31-year-old suffered an early setback with a bogey on the first hole but made a swift recovery with a birdie on the next hole. He dropped another shot on the par-four five, carded two pars on six and seven before reeling another birdie on eight.
Matsuyama then made six straight pars starting from the ninth hole and any hopes of finishing inside the top-10 at the year’s first major were dashed with three bogeys in his closing five holes.
“I thought I stood a chance when I was five shots off the lead at one stage in the final round but my putts were just not strong enough for the fast greens today,” said Matsuyama.
Rahm, meanwhile, overcame a two-shot deficit at the start of the final round to eventually win by four shots over Americans Brooks Koepka and Phil Mickelson with a final round 69.
With his latest victory, Rahm became the fourth Spanish golfer after Sergio Garcia (2017), Jose Maria Olazabal (1994, 1999) and Seve Ballesteros (1980, 1983) to wear the green jacket.
“It’s hard to put it (the Masters win) into words. Obviously, we all dream of things like this as players, and you try to visualise what it's going to be like and what it's going to feel like. I never thought I was going to cry by winning a golf tournament, but I got very close on that 18th hole,” said Rahm.
@ Photo Credit / Augusta National Golf Club