AUGUSTA, Ga. (AP) — The Latest on the Masters, the first golf major of the year (all times EDT):
Hideki Matsuyama started the day with a four-shot lead at the Masters.
For a moment, it was down to one.
Matsuyama pushed his opening tee shot into the pine straw off the right of the first fairway on his way to a bogey to begin his final round at Augusta National. Meanwhile, Will Zalatoris opened birdie-birdie — which, briefly, got him to 9 under and within one shot of Matsuyama.
Zalatoris then made bogey on the par-4 third hole, leaving his uphill par try well short.
Matsuyama got up-and-down from the sand for a birdie at the par-5 2nd hole, getting back to 11 under — pushing his lead over Zalatoris and Xander Schauffele back to three shots.
Hideki Matsuyama has teed off in the final round of the Masters with a three-stroke lead.
A five-time winner on the PGA Tour, the 29-year-old Matsuyama is trying to become the first male player from Japan to capture one of golf’s major championships.
He seized control of the tournament on Saturday with a bogey-free, 7-under 65 that pushed him to 11 under overall.
Matsuyama claimed a four-stroke lead after the third round, but Masters rookie Will Zalatoris has already clipped one shot off the margin with a birdie at the first hole.
Only four players have squandered a lead of at least four strokes going to Sunday. Rory McIlroy was the more recent to do it in 2011.
Matsuyama is playing in the final group with American Xander Schauffele, who is at 7 under along with Australia’s Marc Leishman and England’s Justin Rose.
Zalatoris is a 24-year-old American who doesn’t even have a full PGA Tour card. He is trying to become the first player since Fuzzy Zoeller in 1979 to capture a green jacket on his first attempt.
Billy Horschel has made another stop at Waterworld.
After playing barefoot out of the creek at Augusta National’s 13th hole for the second day in a row, Horschel flew the green with his second shot n No. 15, the ball skipping all the way into the pond at the next hole.
He took a penalty drop and wound up with a bogey 6.
Horschel bounced back with a birdie at the 16th — yes, he managed to avoid the pond this time.
Thankfully for the Floridian, he doesn’t have to worry about any more aqua misadventures at the final two holes of the Masters. Neither has any water hazards.
Welcome to the new Masters tradition: Billy Horschel playing barefoot on the 13th hole.
Horschel created a stir Saturday by slipping barefoot down a slope before playing a ball from the water on the par-5 13th hole. The shoes came off again on the 13th on Sunday, though the only thing that slipped this time was Horschel down the leaderboard.
His tee shot landed in the water, so just like Saturday, he removed his shoes and socks and rolled up his pant legs over his calves to go try to play the ball. He only advanced it a few yards, not getting it back to the fairway, then tried to hack at it again from a combination of grass, mud and rocks — before taking an unplayable lie and moving on.
The final damage: A triple-bogey 8, dropping him from 41st to 50th on the leaderboard and to 6 over for the tournament.
The final round of the Masters has started with all the familiar pin positions for Sunday at Augusta National.
Hideki Matsuyama takes a four-shot lead into the final round. He is trying to become the first Japanese player to win a major and the second major champion from an Asian country. (The first was Y.E. Yang of South Korea in the 2009 PGA Championship at Hazeltine.)
It’s never easy at Augusta National. In November, Dustin Johnson had a four-shot lead that was trimmed to one shot after only five holes. He recovered with a birdie and went on to win by five. Rory McIlroy lost a four-shot lead after 10 holes in 2011 when he shot 80 in the final round.
The most famous was Greg Norman losing a six-shot lead in 1996.
Xander Schauffele, Justin Rose, Marc Leishman and Will Zalatoris were all four shots behind Matsuyama. Rose is the only major champion in that group. Zalatoris is trying to become the first player in 42 years to win a green jacket in his first attempt.
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