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Matsuyama: Augusta doesn’t get old


AUGUSTA (AFP) — Hideki Matsuyama, who snapped a two-year win drought in February, is pushing himself to peak this week at Augusta National, where he already owns a historic Masters title.

World No. 12 Matsuyama became the first Japanese man to win a major golf crown by capturing the 2021 Masters, edging American Will Zalatoris by a stroke.

“To be able to win this tournament was a thrill beyond thrills,” Matsuyama said on Monday. “I’m preparing hard to be able to do that again.”

Matsuyama won his ninth career PGA Tour title at Riviera in February, defeating Zalatoris and Luke List by three strokes for his first triumph since the 2022 Sony Open in Hawaii.

Matsuyama shared sixth at The Players Championship and seventh in last week’s Texas Open, having changed up his pre-Masters plans since winning a green jacket by playing the week before the year’s first major.

“You always like to peak for this week,” Matsuyama said. “Up until 2021 I always took the week off before the Masters, but now since then I’ve played the week before.”

“It has been able to get me into tournament shape. But then, on other hand, too, you get tired from playing two in a row, so I’m still searching for that perfect preparation method.”

Over 12 prior Masters starts, Matsuyama has learned plenty about the famed Augusta National layout.

“Since coming here 13 years ago as a rookie, it was really a long learning process on playing the course and how the course should be played here at Augusta National,” he said.

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