The 2021 Masters tournament returned back to normal and to its usual spring form. With the tournament being back in the warm spring Georgia weather, Augusta National Golf Club was playing very firm and fast to make for an interesting race to claim the green jacket on a Sunday evening.
The 2021 Masters started early in the morning on Thursday, April 8, with legendary golfers Gary Player and Jack Nicklaus teeing off. This year Lee Elder joined Gary and Jack as honorary starters. Elder was the first-born African American to play in the Masters in 1975.
Augusta National let in around 12,000 fans per day, down from the usual 40,000-50,000 fans in normal conditions. As the golfers began to tee off on Thursday the excitement in Augusta had finally begun. Starting off the first round hot was Justin Rose as he shot a 7-under (65) with 6 birdies on the back 9. Jordan Spieth, who has been playing exceptional this year so far, was coming off a win the week before at the Valero Open in Texas and had high odds to be able to compete at the Masters. Spieth shot a 1-under (71) Thursday leaving him sitting 6 shots back from the leader Justin Rose after round 1.
Friday brought some high tension as tournament leader Justin Rose felt a little pressure during his round. Rose started his second round 3 over through 7 holes and quickly finished his round by shooting an even par (72), leaving him still at 7-under overall after two days and staying in the leader position. Defending Masters champion Dustin Johnson, who had some confidence coming back to Augusta, missed the cut after round two, being 5 over par.
Moving day, as everyone calls Saturday in golf, was starting to look like a very close finish for Sundays final round. The final and leading group who teed off Saturday afternoon included leader Justin Rose and 24-year-old Will Zalatoris. Zalatoris was coming into Saturday at 6-under par and tied for second place. Rose shot a third-round even par (72) that put him at 4 back from the lead. From Japan, Hideki Matsuyama came out firing on the back 9 after the weather delay by shooting 6-under and 7-under (65) total for the 3rd round Saturday. Coming into the last day, Matsuyama had a 4 -stroke lead at 11-under over Xander Schauffele.
The final pairing on Sunday at the Masters consisted of Hideki Matsuyama and Xander Shauffele. The final day was full of very entertaining and exciting golf with a ton of people in attendance and tuning in on national TV. One person no one could count out was Will Zalatoris. Zalatoris started his day off by birdying his first two holes of the day and chasing Matsuyama. The plan for Matsuyama was to not make any mistakes all day, and he did that for the most part.
Where the tournament really got interesting was on hole 15 when Matsuyama hit his second shot into the water and settled for a bogey, putting him only a couple strokes ahead. Schauffele made birdie on 15, and the pressure was on. Now to the par 3 number 16. Schauffele hit his first shot and aggressively at the hole, and his ball ended up bouncing left into the water, so he settled for a triple bogey on the hole. Matsuyama played it safe by hitting the green and settled for a bogey, but he went into the last two holes with a comfortable lead. On 18, Matsuyama tapped in for a bogey and a win at the 2021 Masters by 1 stroke over Will Zalatoris.
Senior Evan Rowane spoke on the spring conditions at Augusta National.
“It was amazing to see the best players in the world test their game against a difficult Augusta National,” Evan said. “Firm and fast greens make for a great major championship in golf.”
The rest of the PGA Tour schedule looks to be very entertaining with big name golfers playing and first-year players coming to the tour this season. The next major on the PGA Tour is the PGA Championship on May 20-23 at Kiawah Islands Golf Resort in South Carolina at the Ocean Course. Jordan Spieth will be going for his career grand slam and will look to capture the Wanamaker trophy.