Hideki Matsuyama Played On Phone In Car, Then Gave Masterful Showing

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Storms couldn’t stop Hideki Matsuyama at the Masters. In fact, they only seemed to get him going.

It’s true that some dreary weather fell on Augusta on Saturday. It’s also true that Matsuyama started to shine once things calmed down, playing the final eight holes in 6-under par and turning a two-shot deficit into a four-shot advantage.

Matsuyama put forth several incredible swings and three timely putts late on the back nine — and now, he is within striking distance of becoming the first Japanese player to not only win the Masters, but any major ever.

“I wouldn’t have believed it,” Matsuyama told reporters through an interpreter. “But I did play well today. My game plan was carried out, and hopefully, (Sunday) I can continue good form.”

Matsuyama, 29, waited out the storm delay from his car. It was there that he seemed to gather himself, shaking off his drive into the trees to the right of the 11th fairway. (Though he did admit he spent part of the delay also playing on his phone.)

That shot was Matsuyama’s final one before the pause in play.

“During the rain delay, I just figured I can’t hit anything worse than that,” Matsuyama said. “And so maybe it relieved some pressure. I don’t know. But I did hit it well coming in.”

Matsuyama enters Sunday’s final round with an 11-under 205. That puts him four shots ahead of Xander Schauffele, Justin Rose, Marc Leishman and Masters rookie Will Zalatoris.

“If Hideki plays well, he can control his own destiny, I guess,” Leishman said. “But a lot can happen around here. I’ve seen what can happen. I’ve had bad rounds here myself and I’ve had good rounds. You can make up four shots fairly quickly, but you have to do a lot of things right to do that.”

With no rain expected, it will be interesting to see if Matsuyama can keep his personal storm rolling.

Written by Sam Amico

Sam Amico spent 15 years covering the NBA for Sports Illustrated, FOX Sports and NBA.com, along with a few other spots, and currently runs his own basketball website on the side, FortyEightMinutes.com.

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