In the top 10 of the first round on April 8, Hideki Matsuyama and Kim Si Woo helped Asian golfers raise their hopes for high performance at Masters, like Im Sung-jae last year.
In his 85th Masters match at Augusta National par72, Matsuyama hits 69, while Kim has 71. The Japanese golfer scored an eagle, two birdies and no bogey for 16 holes, then lost five strokes for the penultimate hole, par4 and closed the round with par. And Korean colleagues five birdies compensated four bogeys.
With that form, Matsuyama ranked T2 with a score of -3, Kim at T8 (-1). The top of the table belongs to Justin Rose (-7).
The opening stage, Matsuyama capitalized on four par5 holes that were seen as a chance to score in top golf, in which put 5.8 meters and 3.6 meters to birdies 2 and 13 and eagle 8 with putt. 8.2 meters.
Matsuyama and Kim have settled on the Amen angle that is made up of hole 11 to hole 13. It has been a nightmare for Masters players over the ages. But Matsuyama pegs the par-par-birdie one by one, and Kim bogey-birdie-birdie.
Of the 88 players that played yesterday, Matsuyama and Kim were in the group of 12 who scored negative, with an average record of 74.52 strokes.
Do Covid-19, the 84th Masters was held last November. At that time, Asian golf set a new milestone after 16 years, with Im Sung-jae attending the tournament for the first time but finishing T2.
In 2004 four Asian representatives – Korea, Japan and China – competed. But only KJ Choi of the land of kimchi cut through. Not only that, he also finished T3, three strokes behind champion Phil Mickelson. And besides Im, in the final 10 of Masters 2020, CT Pan of Taiwan belongs to T7. If we count the top 15, there is also Matsuyama. Considering the top 30, Korea has one more representative, Sung Kang from T29.
This year, Asia has Matsuyama, Kim, Im and Pan to Augusta National. But Im and Pan both broke the first game – Im on T72 with 77 strokes and Pan T80 with 79 strokes.
Four days ago, Augusta National hosted the high-achievement female amateur award. Ultimately Tsubasa Kajitani from the land of cherry blossoms was crowned champion. And Matsuyama considers the 17-year-old countryman’s honor to be his own inspiration for Masters.
“I was on the moon when I heard that Kajitani won the award. Unfortunately I couldn’t watch that moment because of the Texas Open. I hope I’ll make Japan as proud as her again this weekend,” Matsuyama said. He won the prize Excellent amateur player in the Masters first in 2011.
Matsuyama was born in 1992, and Kim is three years younger. On the PGA Tour, Matsuyama won five titles while Kim won three, including the 2017 main event The Players Championship win.
Chuah Choo Chiang – Quoc Huy
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