Oliver Brown: Japan's reticent superstar finds peace inside the ropes to conquer Augusta Will Zalatoris and Xander Schauffele challenged but Matsuyama held his nerve Matsuyama survived a brief crisis after finding water on the par five 15th Schauffele's hopes were dashed with triple-bogey at par three 16th As the rising sun hit his land, so Hideki Matsuyama delivered his golf-obsessed country the Masters title for which they have long craved. No longer does Japan have to bemoan its missing male major. For the first time, an Asian champion got to don the green jacket. Ten years after Matsuyama was in the Butler Cabin as the leading amateur, he returned to claim the most coveted garment in his sport. The former world No 2 at last fulfilled the promise that had long marked him out as Japan’s chosen one. It was a huge burden he has carried and for that fact alone he is so fully deserving of his immortality. History is invariably hard-earned and, after being six shots ahead with seven to play, Matsuyama only scraped by the whisker of one shot over the impressive American debutant Will Zalatoris. In truth, it was a long whisker. Matsuyama knew a bogey up the 18th was enough and he duly relied on the cushion, splashing out of the greenside bunker and two-putting for a 73 and a 10-under total. “I thought about my country and my family all the way around,” Matsuyama said. “My nerves really didn't start on the second nine - they were there right from the start, right to the very last putt. Hopefully I'll be a pioneer in this for many other Japanese. I'm glad to be able to open the floodgates and many more will follow." What this extraordinary success will mean to the 29-year-old’s nation and, indeed, his continent will remain unquantifiable until the excitement dies down, but suffice to say those who did arise at 3.40am Tokyo time had the most thrilling early morning. This was a triumph forged in Matsuyama’s absurd brilliance after the Saturday rain delay when he played his next seven holes in six-under. England’s long-time leader, Justin Rose, lost his advantage in that devastating burst and never recovered, eventually finishing in seventh on five-under after a 74.