Coming into Sunday, no Japanese golfer had ever won one of golf’s major events. Hideki Matsuyama came close in 2017 when he led the PGA Championship at the turn before bogeyed five of the final nine holes, finishing fifth. It was an end result that the 29-year-old did not want to repeat today when he entered the final day of the 2021 Masters atop the leaderboard.

Despite a few hiccups along the way, Matsuyama did not falter and he became the first Japanese man to win one of golf’s major tournaments thanks to a final round of 1-over 73, topping Will Zalatoris by one shot. The victory makes him the first player from an Asian country to win the Masters and only the second to win a major (South Korea’s Y.E. Yang won the 2009 PGA Championship).

Not to say that it was smooth sailing for Matsuyama on the day. While taking a four-shot lead into Sunday, Hideo ran into trouble on the first shot of the day, pushing it into the trees and eventually bogeying the first hole. However, he recovered with a birdie on the par-5 second hole and maintained a healthy lead over most of the field. Only Will Zalatoris remained within striking distance by the ninth hole, five shots back.

However, Matsuyama couldn’t quite pull away altogether. A water shot on the par-5 15th opened the door for playing partner Xander Schauffele, who made four birdies in a row and got within three shots. However, Schauffele went in the water on the next hole and Matsuyama went into a conservative mode to maintain his lead. Despite a bogey on 18, he tapped in the winning shot and walked away 10-under with a one-shot victory in the 85th Masters Tournament.

Afterward, Matsuyama’s caddie Shota Hayafuji returned the 18th green pin to the hole, removed his hat, and bowed his head in an iconic image that ties together the traditions of the sport and Japanese culture.

Noting the importance of the moment, CBS also shared some of the Japanese announcer calls during the day.

About Sean Keeley

A graduate of Syracuse University, Sean Keeley is the creator of the Syracuse blog Troy Nunes Is An Absolute Magician and author of 'How To Grow An Orange: The Right Way to Brainwash Your Child Into Rooting for Syracuse.' He has also written non-Syracuse related things for SB Nation, Curbed, Neighborhoods.com, and many other outlets. He currently lives in Chicago.