The Japanese golfer finished second ahead of Will Zalatoris and took his first major. He shot a final lap of 73 and finished with a score of 10 under par, one shot ahead of the American runner-up.
The 29-year-old was crammed into his rivals before an hour-long weather delay on Saturday before he catapulted himself into the lead on the third round with glitzy golf.
In the all-important fourth round on Sunday, Matsuyama held up early tests from Zalatoris and a late push from Xander Schauffele, in which both players found the water before leading each other to victory.
By winning the famous golf tournament, Matsuyama became the first Japanese to win a golf major and ended an almost four-year drought without a win.
As is tradition, last year’s winner Dustin Johnson, who failed to make the cut after his own fights this year, presented Matsuyama with his green jacket, which built him into Masters and golf folklore.
Sitting next to Johnson and his translator in Butler Cabin, where the champions receive their green jackets, Matsuyama expressed his luck that he could pave the way for other future Japanese golfers.
“I’m really happy,” he said. “My nerves really didn’t start on the second nine. It was from the start to the last putt. I’ve been thinking all the way through (my family) today and I’m really glad I played well I hope I get one Be a pioneer and many other Japanese will follow. I am happy to hopefully open the floodgates and many more will follow me. “
The way to victory
Justin Rose’s brilliant opening round made headlines on Thursday – but Matsuyama was only a few shots behind.
Friday was a tough day with swirling winds and fast greens, but on Saturday the Japanese golfer put his peddle on the metal.
While Rose stuttered, the game had to be suspended for about an hour in bad weather, after which Matsuyama met his porters.
In the last eight holes he hit four birdies, an eagle and no bogies to storm into a four-shot lead with only 18 holes.
Zalatoris, the youngster who impressed on his Masters debut, briefly reduced the deficit to one shot before Matsuyama found his groove on Saturday and made eighth and ninth birdies to extend his lead.
Though his lead was at a point six, some American Schauffele fighting golfers reduced the gap to just four. And the lead continued to diminish after a dramatic 15th hole that Matsuyama’s second shot found the water.
His bogey and Schauffeles birdie reduced the distance between the first two to just two shots with three holes remaining.
But with the pressure on his shoulders, Schauffele found the water on the par 3 course 16 and ended up with a triple bogey, effectively ending his hopes for a first big win.
And in the last two holes, Matsuyama showed serenity and composure – save for a villain iron that was shot into a bunker on the 18th and its nerves clanked – which belied his vast experience of fending off the challenge and making history.
“I have no idea how I feel, I’m speechless,” he said in his press conference after the round. “Missing a shot is motivating, but it’s exciting to get to the Masters, where I’ve been since I was nine. I’ll be back next year and hopefully do a better one.”
Matsuyama’s best performance so far was at the 2017 US Open
His previous best performance in a major was achieved in 2017 at the US Open when he finished second behind Brooks Koepka.
While Matsuyama was the first Japanese to win a golf major, two of his female colleagues have already achieved this.
Hinako Shibuno won the Women’s British Open in 2019, while Chako Higuchi won the LPGA Championship in 1977.
Matsuyama’s win on Sunday ended some very successful weeks for Japan and its golfers in Augusta.
Eight days ago, Tsubasa Kajitani won the Augusta National Women’s Amateur.
Five-time Masters Champion Tiger Woods congratulated Matsuyama on his significant achievement.
Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga also congratulated Hideki Matsuyama and called his victory “wonderful”.
“With the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, he has given all Japanese courage and inspiration,” Suga said in a statement on Monday local time.
“He’s the first Japanese to win the Masters and the first to win a major championship. He’s the first in Japan and in all of Asia. I think it’s amazing.”
CNN’s Mai Nishiyama contributed to this report.