We’ve got a potentially tight finish brewing at The Masters, thanks in part to a massive mistake from leader Hideki Matsuyama on the 15th hole.
Up four strokes with four holes to play, Matsuyama got aggressive with his second shot on the Par-5, 530-yard “Firethorn.” He wound up hitting it too long, and the ball careened off the green and downhill into the water.
The mistake led to a bogey, and dropped Matsuyama’s lead over Xander Schauffele to just two strokes with three holes to play. In hindsight, given his lead and the need to be somewhat cautious, Matsuyama should have laid up and played it safe.
That’s the consensus opinion on social media at least–and we tend to agree with it.
— Dan Wolken (@DanWolken) April 11, 2021
Sometimes lay up?
— No Laying Up (@NoLayingUp) April 11, 2021
I can't believe Hideki didn't lay up with a four-shot lead. Wow! Things are about to get real.
— Daniel House (@DanielHouseNFL) April 11, 2021
Hideki has to play for par there right? Lay up and pitch onto the green. Why go for that?
— Ben George (@thebengeorge) April 11, 2021
Fortunately for Matsuyama, he bounced back with a strong tee shot on the Par-3 No. 16, while Schauffele sent his first offering into the water. His next attempt from the drop area bounced into the crowd behind the green.
Matsuyama has an opportunity to make par and stay at -12 with two holes left, and even a bogey likely doesn’t kill him.
Given how he played No. 15, he’s quite lucky.