Matsuyama takes 4-shot lead to Sunday after incredible finish
Mike Ehrmann / Getty Images Sport / Getty

Whatever Hideki Matsuyama did during Saturday's weather delay at Augusta National, he should certainly make it a regular routine at major championships.

The Japanese star sat two off the lead at 5-under when thunderstorms halted play as he was starting his second nine. After a 78-minute delay, Matsuyama took advantage of prime scoring conditions. He made four birdies and an eagle over the final eight holes to post a 7-under 65 and take a four-shot advantage to Sunday.

The 29-year-old put on a ball-striking clinic throughout, attacking the flag and daring the field to keep up - nobody appeared up to the challenge. Matsuyama leads Xander Schauffele, Marc Leishman, Justin Rose, and rookie Will Zalatoris.

Position Player Round 3 score Total to par
1 Hideki Matsuyama 65 -11
T2 Xander Schauffele 68 -7
T2 Will Zalatoris 71 -7
T2 Justin Rose 72 -7
T2 Marc Leishman 70 -7
6 Corey Conners 68 -6
7 Jordan Spieth 72 -5
8 Brian Harman 74 -4
9 Tony Finau 73 -3

Matsuyama is no stranger to success at Augusta, beginning his Masters career 10 years ago by claiming low amateur at the event. He has two top-7 finishes at Augusta National and was tied for 13th in November less than six months ago.

With so much room between him and the chasers, Matsuyama is in prime position to claim the first Masters title for Japan. As noted by Justin Ray of the 15th Club, the last 28 major champions have been within four of the lead entering the final round.

Meanwhile, every Masters winner since 1989 has been inside the top five entering the final round. That would make it very unlikely for 2015 champion Jordan Spieth to make a run on Sunday.

Spieth struck the ball well enough to charge on Saturday, but one of his worst putting performances at Augusta kept him to an even-par 72 to sit six off the pace.

Should Matsuyama claim the green jacket on Sunday, it would represent a Japanese sweep at Augusta National this month - Tsubasa Kajitani won the Women's Amateur last weekend.


Matsuyama takes 4-shot lead to Sunday after incredible finish
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