April 10 (UPI) — Hideki Matsuyama went from sixth place to the outright leader of the 2021 Masters tournament with a 7-under par 65 in the third round Saturday at Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Ga.
He fired five birdies and an eagle to move to 11-under par for the tournament, four strokes ahead of the rest of the 53-player field.
The third round was marked by a one-hour, 30-minute weather delay, which made the ground softer and slowed the fairways and greens at Augusta.
Matsuyama was on the 11th hole when he left the course due to the delay. He returned from the suspension of play and birdied six of his final eight holes to storm into the lead.
“I didn’t hit very good drives before the [weather] horn blew,” Matsuyama said on the CBS broadcast. “After the restart, I hit practically every shot like I wanted to.”
Matsuyama is the first Japanese player to lead the Masters through any round. He also is the first player to fire a bogey-free round at this year’s Masters.
“This is a new experience for me, being a leader going into the final round in a major,” Matsuyama said. “All I can do is relax as much as I can, prepare well and do my best.”
Justin Rose, Xander Schauffele, Marc Leishman and Will Zalatoris are tied for second place at 7-under par heading into Sunday’s final round. The winner of the Green Jacket receive $ 2.07 million of the $ 11.5 million purse.
Rose, who led the tournament through the first and second rounds, carded an even-par 72 in the third round. He entered Saturday with a one-shot lead on the field at 7-under par for the tournament. Zalatoris was tied for second place entering the third round.
Matsuyama started his day Saturday with pars on his first six holes. He then birdied No. 7, made pars on Nos. 8 and 9 and made birdies on two of his first three holes on the back nine.
His birdie on No. 12 moved him into a tie with Rose for the lead. Matsuyama then made par on Nos. 13 and 14. He distanced himself from the field with an eagle on No. 15.
Matsuyama birdied Nos. 16 and 17 and finished the round with a par on No. 18.
Rose got off to a strong start, with birdies on the first two holes, but then struggled. He carded bogeys on Nos. 4, 5 and 12 and made just one birdie on the back nine.
Schauffele jumped 10 spots on the leaderboard with a 4-under par 68 in the third round. Leishman was 2-under par Saturday. Zalatoris shot 1-under par.
Canada’s Corey Conners is tied for sixth place. Conners had a hole-in-one on No. 6 and shot a 4-under par 68 Saturday.
The final round streams from 10:15 a.m. to 6 p.m. EDT Sunday on CBSSports.com and airs from 2 to 7 p.m. EDT on CBS.
Moments from the 2021 Masters Tournament