"Maybe it relieved some of the pressure. I did hit it well after the delay," Hideki Matsuyama said

By Nicholas Rice
April 11, 2021 12:45 PM
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Hideki Matsuyama
Credit: Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

Hideki Matsuyama has the weather — and video games — to thank for helping him to take the lead at the 2021 Masters Tournament.

On Saturday, the 29-year-old professional golfer took part in the third round of the famed golf tournament when a rainstorm caused a 78-minute suspension, according to The New York Times.

Before the tournament was brought to a halt, Matsuyama said he hit his "worst shot of the week." He then spent the weather delay in his car playing video games on his phone, Sports Illustrated reported.

The time off gave Matsuyama time to recuperate. "I just figured, I can't hit anything worse than that," he said through an interpreter, the Times reported. "Maybe it relieved some of the pressure. I did hit it well after the delay."

Hideki Matsuyama
Credit: Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

Matsuyama ended up scoring the lead on Saturday and he will now play on Sunday with hopes of becoming the first Japanese man to win the tournament, according to SI.

"This will be a new experience for me, being a leader going into the final round in a major," he said on Saturday, the outlet reported. "I guess all I can do is just relax as I can tonight, prepare well and just do my best tomorrow."

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Matsuyama also noted that he believes he is in a better frame of mind to win thanks to the COVID-19 protocols put in place at the tournament, which have reduced the number of Japanese reporters.

"I'm glad the media are here covering it, but it's not my favorite thing to do, to stand and answer questions," he said, according to SI. "And so with fewer media, it's been a lot less stressful for me, and I've enjoyed this week."

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According to the Times, four golfers are currently tied for second place behind Matsuyama — Justin Rose, Xander Schauffele, Marc Leishman and Will Zalatoris.

Should Matsuyama win on Sunday, his victory will be the second for a Japanese golfer on the Augusta National Golf Course in the last eight days, the Times reported.

Earlier this month, Tsubasa Kajitani — who hails from Okayama — won the Augusta Nation Women's Amateur tournament.

Speaking of Kajitani's win, Matsuyama said: "It was fantastic. I hope I can follow in her shoes and make Japan proud."