Hideki Matsuyama stands on the verge of becoming Japan’s first men’s Major golf champion at the US Masters after a scintillating third-round bogey-free 65 saw him move four strokes clear of the field.
After enduring an enforced delay due to heavy rain and a storm warning for one hour and 15 minutes on Saturday at Augusta, world number 25 Matsuyama re-emerged to complete his final eight holes in six under par. He ended the day on 11 under after opening with rounds of 69 and 71.
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“I played well today,” said the 2017 US Open runner-up. “Before the horn blew I didn’t hit a very good drive, but after the restart I hit practically every shot exactly how I wanted to.
It will be a new experience for me, being a leader going into the final round of a major. All I can do is relax, prepare well and do my best.
“When the wind calmed down you could kind of get at it. I am happy enough with the last couple of days’ play.
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“I just stuck to my game plan. Hopefully, I can do the same tomorrow.”
Overnight leader Justin Rose again battled ferociously despite being out of sorts as he sunk a superb clutch putt from 15 feet at 18 to rescue a level-par 72 and ensure he joined Xander Schauffele, Marc Leishman and Will Zalatoris in a four-way tie for second place on seven under.
“It was a tricky day, when the storm was approaching it was really windy,” said Englishman Rose. “When we came back out it felt there was a period of time to make a score, but then the greens slowed up a lot.
There was definitely some tricky moments out there. I had to work hard and after 12 holes I thought I was in a nice spot. Hideki hit the jets and I hit the brakes a bit, that was the difference.
“A lot is to do with how Hideki plays, but there is a big chasing pack waiting. We are in a good spot.”
2015 winner Jordan Spieth is six behind after being forced to settle for a 72 while world number two Justin Thomas is ten strokes off top spot after completing a 75.
- -11 H Matsuyama (18)
- -7 X Schauffele (18), M Leishman (18), J Rose (18), W Zalatoris (18)
- -6 C Conners (18)
- -5 J Spieth (18)
- -4 B Harman (18)
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