7 biggest surprises from the 2021 Masters
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For the second time in less than six months, the eyes of the golfing world descended on Augusta National for the Masters.

A thrilling finish on Sunday saw Hideki Matsuyama's five-shot lead cut to one before the Japanese star closed it out for his country's first major win by a male.

Here are the seven biggest surprises from the Masters.

Hideki winning the tournament

While it's not shocking the 25th-ranked player in the world won the Masters, there's nothing about Matsuyama's form in recent years that would suggest this was coming. The 29-year-old hadn't finished in the top 10 of a major since 2017 and, according to Justin Ray of the 15th Club, became the second Masters winner since 1960 who had not claimed a victory worldwide in at least 1,300 days.

Xander triple-bogeying No. 16

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The water at the iconic par-3 16th is a beautiful sight on a Sunday at Augusta. It's also not in play for a vast majority of players - unless you are Xander Schauffele. After ripping off four birdies in a row to cut Matsuyama's lead to two, the American hit a shocking tee shot that found the water in front of the green. His shot from the drop zone then flew over the putting surface leading to a triple-bogey six - the only one in the 1,044 holes of Schauffle's major championship career. Only six holes played easier than No. 16 on Sunday, but Schauffele's struggles went a long way to deciding the fate of the tournament.

Spieth's putting on the weekend

Jordan Spieth has played in eight Masters, and thanks to his top-3 finish at this year's event, he's now placed in that position five times. While that's certainly incredible production at Augusta National, a shockingly poor putting performance kept him from really threatening for his second green jacket. After missing five different putts inside 10 feet on Saturday, Spieth followed that up with seven misses on Sunday. Despite the struggles, the 27-year-old still mounted a strong charge, but will be left wondering what could have been.

Will Zalatoris finishing solo 2nd

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Anybody who watches golf regularly knows what Will Zalatoris is capable of, but a second-place finish in his first trip to Augusta National is still incredibly impressive. He's the first rookie to finish solo runner-up since 1982, and was just one shot outside of a playoff with Matsuyama. The 24-year-old has now played two major championships as a professional and has posted a second- and sixth-place showing. While this performance was a surprise, he won't be sneaking up on anybody going forward.

Corey Conners aces No. 6

An ace at Augusta National isn't the most shocking thing, but having it happen on the difficult sixth hole warrants recognition. The second par-3 on the opening side had only seen five hole-in-ones in the tournament's history entering play on Saturday. Canadian Corey Conners added to that tally when his perfect tee shot found the cup as part of an impressive 4-under 68.

DJ, Rory miss the cut

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Dustin Johnson entered the week with one missed cut in 11 appearances at Augusta, finishing in the top 10 five straight times and winning in last year's event. Rory McIlroy came in with only one missed cut in 12 starts at the Masters and six top-10 showings in his last seven trips to Augusta. Given those resumes, it's safe to say both players missing the weekend comes as a huge surprise. Johnson's title defense went up in flames with a poor closing stretch on Friday, eventually causing him to miss the number by two strokes, while McIlroy couldn't recover from an opening-round 76.

Bryson's scoring on par 3s

While the long drives bring the attention to Bryson DeChambeau, one of the main reasons he's the 5th-ranked player in the world is his brilliant scoring on par 3s. The reigning U.S. Open champion came into the Masters ranked 1st on TOUR in par-3 scoring, but he can point to that area as the reason for his demise at Augusta this year. DeChambeau finished the week a whopping 8-over on the four short holes at the legendary layout, and he has yet to crack the top-25 at the Masters in four trips to the event as a professional. While his hyper-aggressive driving routine on the range garnered plenty of eyes earlier in the week, paying more attention to dialing in on the par 3s is what he needs to make a run at the green jacket.

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7 biggest surprises from the 2021 Masters
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