ideki Matsuyama hopes his historic win at the Masters will “open the floodgates” for Japanese players after he held off the field at Augusta to hand his golf-obsessed country the Major win it has long craved.
American Will Zalatoris finished second on nine under, while England’s Justin Rose, who led for two rounds, faded over the final 18 holes and finished seventh.
Japan has had two female Major winners, but the closest one of its men had previously come was Isao Aoki, when finishing runner-up at the US Open in 1980.
Matsuyama is also the first Asian champion to don the iconic Green Jacket and he hopes to be a pioneer for other Japanese golfers.
“I am really happy,” he said. “My nerves really did not start on the back nine, it was right from the start and right until the very last putt.
“I was thinking about [friends and family] all the way. Hopefully, I will be a pioneer and many other Japanese players will follow.”