For a while, it looked like there wasn't going to be much drama at Augusta National on Sunday.
Ah, but it wouldn't be the Masters without some intrigue. Hideki Matsuyama's comfortable lead almost evaporated late, though he ultimately held off Xander Schauffele and earned himself his first green jacket in the process, shooting a one-over 73 to finish 10 under for the tournament. That left him one stroke clear of runner-up Will Zalatoris after Schauffele crumbled late.
For the third straight year, the total purse at the major was $11.5 million, with Matsuyama taking home a clean $2.07 million for finishing first. Here were the remaining payouts and the top of the leaderboard:
- 2. Zalatoris (-9): $1,242,000
- T3. Jordan Spieth (-7): $667,000
- T3. Schauffele (-7): $667,000
- T5. Jon Rahm (-6): $437,000
- T5. Marc Leishman (-6): $437,000
- 7. Justin Rose (-5): $385,250
- T8. Patrick Reed (-4): $345,000
- T8. Corey Conners (-4): $345,000
- T10. Cameron Smith (-3): $299,000
- T10: Tony Finau (-3): $299,000
Matsuyama surged to the top of the leaderboard Saturday, perhaps bolstered by a rain delay. When play was halted, he was two strokes off the lead through 10 holes. When play resumed, he annihilated the final stretch, shooting a remarkable six under on the last eight holes to take a four-stroke lead.
"I wouldn't have believed it," Matsuyama told reporters Saturday. "But I did play well today. And my game plan was carried out, and hopefully, tomorrow I can continue good form."
While he couldn't match Saturday's improbable run, he mostly managed the course well Sunday, avoiding the sort of major blunders that can quickly derail a tournament. Well, at least until the 15th, when he found the water and bogeyed the hole. That, paired with Schauffele shooting a birdie on No. 15, cut Matsuyama's lead to two strokes.
But he held on from there, bolstered by Schauffele's untimely and devastating triple bogey on No. 16. Finishing above par was enough for Matsuyama.
As for the rest of the field, Jordan Spieth's strong showing is a positive sign going forward for a player who hadn't posted a top-10 finish at a major since the 2018 British Open and didn't have a top-five finish since that year's Masters.
It wasn't a win for Spieth, but it was a much-needed performance. Besides, nobody was catching Matsuyama on Sunday, even if he temporarily held the door open on the back nine and let a little drama through.