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Sato’s Indy 500 Win Launched Golden Run for Japanese Athletes

Hideki Matsuyama’s victory in The Masters golf tournament Sunday continued a tremendous run of success for Japanese athletes in major global sporting events taking place in America, a string of excellence that started with Takuma Sato’s win in the Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge last August.

Matsuyama won golf’s most prestigious event by one stroke over Will Zalatoris. He became the first Japanese golfer to win the annual major tournament at Augusta National Golf Club.

“Huge congratulations (to) Hideki Matsuyama for winning The Masters!!” Sato tweeted Sunday night. “Very happy to see a historic moment for (the) Japanese golf world, as young Kajitani-san winning Augusta National Women’s Am, too!!”

Matsuyama’s victory was the second for a Japanese golfer at Augusta in a week. Tsubasa Kajitani won the 2021 Augusta National Women's Amateur in a playoff April 3.

Sato won “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing” last Aug. 23 to earn his second victory in motorsports’ most prestigious race, driving the No. 30 Honda fielded by Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing. He also won in 2017, for Andretti Autosport, becoming the only Japanese driver to win the “500.”

Tennis superstar Naomi Osaka continued the winning run for Japanese athletes in America, capturing the U.S. Open women’s singles title in September in New York. Like Sato, she earned her second win in the prestigious tournament. Her first triumph came in 2018.

Osaka continued her hot streak in major events by also capturing the Australian Open singles’ title in February 2021.

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