Matsuyama the Toast of Japan

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Japan can now toast a Major champion after Hideki Matsuyama's brilliance at Augusta, while Jon Rahm also impressed in the final round.

Hideki Matsuyama celebrates after being given the Green Jacket following his Masters win

Hideki Matsuyama became the first male Japanese golfer to win a major championship as he survived some late wobbles to claim a one-shot victory at the Masters.

Matsuyama went into the final round defending a four-shot lead and held on after carding a one-over-par Sunday round of 73. 

Debutant Will Zalatrois finished second while Xavier Schauffele saw his challenge disappear after a disaster on the 16th.

Schauffele had got to win within two shots after four straight birdies and looked poised to push Matsuyama all the way after the leader found the water at the back of the 15th.

However, Schauffele despaired as he struck his ball into the water at the 16th and carded a triple-bogey six which kissed goodbye to any hopes he had of winning the Green Jacket.

It was Matsuyama’s first victory since the WGC Bridgestone Invitational in 2017 and took him to 14th in the world rankings.

Betting Market for 2022 Masters

Betting is already available for next year’s Augusta battle and Matsuyama is 22/1 to become the first player since Tiger Woods in 2002 to successfully defend the title.

World number one Dustin Johnson is 10/1 favourite while Justin Thomas, Jordan Spieth and Jon Rahm are 11/1.

Bryson DeChambeau, who finished 46th, is 12/1 while Rory McIlroy and Schauffele are 16/1.

Rahm and Rose Can Build On Good Performances

Two European stars had excellent weeks at Augusta which should spur them on for greater success in the rest of 2021.

Justin Rose led for the first two rounds and while the Englishman will have been disappointed that he was unable to claim his second Major title, his seventh-placed finish came after he made just one top-ten in his previous 13 outings.

Jon Rahm, meanwhile, finished tied for fifth alongside Australia’s Marc Leishman after his closing 66 was the best round of the day.

That is the eighth time in his last ten tournaments that the Spaniard has been among the top-ten finishers and he is 11/1 to break his Major duck at next month’s US PGA Championship at Kiawah Island in South Carolina.

Work to Do For Johnson and McIlroy

But while some had cause for optimism after their Masters performances, it is back to the drawing board for defending champion Dustin Johnson and Rory McIlroy, both of whom missed the cut.

Both had weeks to forget as Johnson fell two shots off making the weekend and McIlroy was three shots short.

Johnson had previously struggled at the Workday Championship and the Players Championship and his February victory at the star-studded Saudi International seems like quite a while ago.

McIlroy is still in search of that Augusta victory to confirm the career Grand Slam and he had also missed the cut at Sawgrass, so clearly has plenty of work to do before the next Major.

*All odds correct at time of writing

A single-handicapper, James always offers an interesting insight to the world of golf, with extensive knowledge of both the US and European Tours. James also has a wealth of information about the domestic and international football scene.

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