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GOLF | Hideki Matsuyama Falls 11 Strokes Back Entering the Final Round at the Masters

Matsuyama needs a record-breaking performance over the final 18 holes to retain the green jacket.



Hideki Matsuyama watches the flight of his ball on the first hole of the third round at the Masters on April 9 in Augusta, Georgia.

Who achieved the biggest final-round comeback in Masters history to win the tournament?

Jack Burke Jr. 

In 1956, he overcame an eight-stroke deficit entering the final round. Burke then shot a 71 in the fourth round, while amateur Ken Venturi, the overnight leader, carded an 80. Burke, who won the title by one stroke over Venturi, turned 99 in January.

Will another golfer break his Masters comeback record in his lifetime?

Reigning Masters champion Hideki Matsuyama would need an historic comeback in the final round on Sunday, April 10 to defend his title.

Matsuyama, who trailed Sungjae Im and Scottie Scheffler by five strokes after the first and second rounds, respectively, fell 11 shots off the pace with a 5-under 77. That put him at 2-over 218 and in a four-way tie for 14th place along with Cameron Champ, Webb Simpson and Will Zalatoris.

Scheffler fired a 1-under 71 on Saturday, April 9, maintaining his spot at the top of the leaderboard at 9-under 207.

Cameron Smith held the No. 2 position entering the final round after a 68 on the third day. He’s at 6-under 210, followed by Im at 212.

Tiger Woods had his worst-ever round at the Masters with a 6-over 78. He’s now 16 shots adrift of Scheffler at 7-over 223.

It was a frustrating day for the five-time Masters champion. Putting was particularly vexing.

“I just could not get a feel for getting comfortable with the ball,” the 46-year-old said. “Posture, feel, my right hand, my release, I just couldn't find it.

“Trying different things, trying to find it, trying to get something, taking practice strokes and just trying to feel the swing and the putter head, trying to get anything, and nothing seemed to work.

“Even as many putts as I had, you'd think I'd have figured it out somewhere along the line, but it just didn't happen.”

Matsuyama began the third round with a bogey on the par-4 first hole. He had four more bogeys (seventh, 10th, 13th and 16th) and a double bogey on the par-4 fifth hole. The 30-year-old’s lone birdie was on the ninth hole, putting him at 3-over 39 heading into the back nine.

"I couldn't quite adjust to the condition of the course," Matsuyama was quoted as saying by Kyodo News. "It's difficult as little things change the score. I'll do my best to improve even by one stroke [in the final round] and finish in a good position."

Author: Ed Odeven

Follow Ed on JAPAN Forward's [Japan Sports Notebook] here on Sundays, in [Odds and Evens] here during the week, and Twitter @ed_odeven and find him on JAPAN Forward’s dedicated sports website, SportsLook.

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