By Andrew Both
AUGUSTA – Japan’s Hideki Matsuyama stormed dwelling in fashion to place himself in position to develop into the primary Asian golfer to win the Masters as he held a four-shot lead after the rain-interrupted third spherical at Augusta National on Saturday.
Matsuyama, who started the day three pictures behind in a single day chief Justin Rose, performed eight holes after a 78-minute climate delay and went a scorching 6-under over that stretch for a seven-under-par 65 that introduced him to 11-under.
ALSO READ: Justin Rose stretches Masters lead as Corey Conners, Jordan Spieth surge
“Before the horn blew I didn’t hit a very good drive, but after the horn blew for the restart I hit practically every shot exactly how I wanted to,” Matsuyama, whose final PGA Tour win got here in 2017, mentioned by way of an interpreter.
“This will be a new experience for me being a leader going into the final round in a major. I guess all I can do is just relax tonight, prepare well and just do my best tomorrow.”
Rose (72), in search of his first Green Jacket after a pair of shut calls, was in a four-way share of second place with Xander Schauffele (68), Australian Marc Leishman (70) and Masters debutant Will Zalatoris (71).
World No 25 Matsuyama stormed by way of Amen Corner with a pair of birdies after which began to drag away from the sphere with an eagle on the par-five fifteenth to seize the outright lead following a powerful method.
Matsuyama then birdied the following two holes earlier than capping the primary bogey-free spherical of the week with a par to set a goal no person might catch as he grew to become the primary participant from Japan to steer after any spherical of the Masters.
It additionally marked Matsuyama’s finest spherical in his 10 Masters appearances by one shot.
ALSO READ: Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas lurking behind Justin Rose at Masters
Rose, in search of his first Masters victory after a pair of runner-up finishes, had been in management all week and led by two pictures moments after play resumed however was out of sync and unable to make the most of rain-softened situations.
The 40-year-old Englishman made a birdie-birdie begin to build an early three-shot lead however then made consecutive bogeys from the par-three fourth earlier than the inclement climate moved in whereas he was enjoying the seventh gap.
Rose returned and combined one birdie with a bogey on the par-three sixteenth after which made a clutch 17-foot par save on the final gap the place he despatched his drive into the pine straw proper of the green earlier than lacking the inexperienced together with his second shot.
“I didn’t play well enough today, simple as that really,” mentioned Rose. “I think all in all, to have a shot tomorrow, I’m delighted. Have that freedom to take a run at it, and of course I’d love to kind of stay with it just a little bit better.”
Corey Conners used an eight iron to make a hole-in-one on the 180-yard, par-three sixth gap that helped put the Canadian in rivalry heading into the ultimate spherical the place he’ll begin 5 pictures again from Matsuyama.
“Didn’t seem like the wind was helping as much as I had anticipated, but fortunately, it flew far enough,” mentioned Conners, whose ball took just a few bounces earlier than disappearing within the cup.
“I think I hit the pin with a little bit of steam, but it was right in the middle. So pretty special moment.”
Former champion Jordan Spieth (72), who got here into the week among the many favourites after snapping a virtually four-year victory drought, was six pictures again after a spherical that included 4 birdies, two bogeys and an double-bogey.
Schauffele, who drained a 61-foot eagle putt on the par-five fifteenth that gave him a short share of the lead till enjoying competitor Matsuyama made his eagle, will likely be within the remaining group for Sunday’s remaining spherical.
“My dinner will taste a little better,” Schauffele mentioned after making some key putts down the stretch and an up-and-down for par on the penultimate gap. “It wasn’t quite as nice as Hideki’s cleanup there on the last few holes, but I’ll take it.”