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Masters 2021: Hideki Matsuyama Holds Commanding 4-Stroke Lead Entering Final Round

Blake SchusterContributor IApril 11, 2021

Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

Ten years after posting the lowest score of any amateur at Augusta National, Hideki Matsuyama will begin Sunday at The Masters with a four-stroke lead and a chance to become the first Masters champion from Japan in tournament history. 

Moving day at Augusta simply belonged to Matsuyama. 

Now a tour veteran, Matsuyama dominated the back nine at Augusta and produced the first bogey-free round the course has seen this year. That was more than enough to power past the likes of Justin Rose, Jordan Spieth and Will Zalatoris to lock up a spot in the final grouping on Sunday.

Here's a look at where things stand with 18 holes to play at Augusta. 


2021 Masters Saturday Leaderboard

1. Hideki Matsuyama (-11)

T2. Xander Schauffele (-7)

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T2. Marc Leishman (-7)

T2. Justin Rose (-7)

T2. Will Zalatoris (-7)

6. Corey Conners (-6)

7. Jordan Spieth (-5)

8. Brian Harman (-4)

9. Tony Finau (-3)

T10. Robert MacIntyre (-2)

T10. Si Woo Kim (-2)

T10. Bernd Wiesberger (-2)

Notables: T13. Patrick Reed (-1), T13. Henrik Stenson (-1), T13. Viktor Hovland (-1), T13. Justin Thomas (-1), T21. Phil Mickelson (E), T21. Jon Rahm (E), T29. Bubba Watson (+1), T38. Bryson DeChambeau (+2) 

Full leaderboard available via PGA Tour


Recap

Rose began the day exactly where he left off on Thursday—seven-under par and looking to build on his lead. 

Matsuyama made that incredibly difficult.

Playing a few holes ahead of Rose, Matsuyama looked automatic with a round of 65 on Saturday. The back nine, in particular, allowed Matsuyama to jump up the leaderboard as he birdied Nos. 11 and 12 before posting an eagle on No. 15. He would go onto birdie each of the next two holes before ending with a par on No. 18.

That he did it all after an hour-long rain delay that began while Matsuyama was on No. 11 made it all that more impressive. 

The 29-year-old went back to the clubhouse with a three-stroke lead over Rose, who was still on No. 14 at the time Matsuyama finished his day. 

Rose played his second consecutive round of even par after posting back-to-back birdies to start the day. After struggling to find his rhythm on the front nine to begin the week, it was the back nine where the Englishman kept missing opportunities.  

Aside from a birdie on No. 12 and a bogey on No. 16, Rose played the back nine even par, though a long putt to save par on No. 18 might've been the most important shot he hit all day.

Jordan Spieth dug well into his bag of tricks on Saturday, pulling off circus shot after circus shot to remain in contention for his first green jacket since 2015. Aside from a missed birdie on No. 18, Spieth had little to be upset with during hi third round.

Last weekend's Texas Open champion dazzled with a birdie on No. 2, pulled off a miraculous shot from the pine straws for another birdie on No. 8, then began the back nine with a birdie on No. 10 with a perfect chip shot off the side of the green. 

Still, it was tough for any golfer to find a better shot than what Corey Conners pulled off at the par-three No. 6 on Saturday, dropping in an Ace for the sixth hole-in-one at No. 6 in tournament history and the first since Jamie Donaldson in 2013. 

Zalatoris, Leishman, Schauffele and Conners are all still very much in contention on Sunday—as are Speith, Tony Finau, and Brian Harman. 

As long as Matsuyama is taking advantage of the course like he did on Saturday, it might not matter what anyone else is doing at Augusta over the final 18 holes.