We all know that a four-shot lead in any golf tournament – yes, even the Pumpherston 36-hole Husband & Wife Salver – can be as brittle as the Dead Sea Scrolls.

Holding a decent margin at any time of the closing day of The Masters, meanwhile, comes with plenty of warnings from history. Greg Norman, Rory McIlroy, and Jordan Spieth will all vouch for that.

When Hideki Matsuyama was ushered on to the first tee yesterday to begin his final round at Augusta, you could just about hear the sharp intake of expectant breath from his native Japan. Forget getting the Green Jacket. A Masters win would give him the keys to the Golden Pavilion

Just a week ago, Tsubasa Kajitani won the Augusta National Women’s Amateur Championship over this coveted clump of golfing real estate. Could there be a double whammy of Japanese joy in this corner of Georgia?

Yes, there was. Matsuyama’s  thrilling 65 during Saturday’s third round had thrust him into a commanding four stroke advantage over the chasing pack. Sunday at Augusta was his golfing day of reckoning. And there was a decent omen to cling to.

The last player to hold a four-shot lead after 54 holes of the Masters was Dustin Johnson, who converted it into a five-shot victory just five months ago.

Matsuyama’s own procession to a coronation had one or two bumps along the way but, in the end, he could savour the last few legs of the journey. He could even afford the luxury of a bogey on the 18th. The hard work had been done.

The 29-year-old’s one-over 73 for a 10-under total left him one shot ahead of the bold Will Zalatoris. From the land of the rising sun, this son of Japan who has been rising for a number of seasons finally earned a historic major breakthrough.

In an Olympic year in Tokyo, this Tiger Woods of the far east will generate more hoopla than Robert MacIntyre when he gets back to Glencruitten. Then again?

The young Scot made a brave birdie on his last hole to seal a wonderful share of 12th place on his debut and with it, an invitation to return to The Masters party next year. What a wonderful week it had been for this wonderful talent and his final putt summed up his never-say-die approach.

Japan, meanwhile, had produced just two major champions and both of them have been on the female front. The trail-blazing Chako Higuchi landed the LPGA Championship in 1977 and was given a ticker-tape parade in Tokyo.

The brilliantly effervescent Hinako Shibuno, meanwhile, won the Women’s British Open at Woburn just two years ago and, in many ways, broke the mould in terms of how a major should be conquered.

With an infectious joie de vivre, Shibuno laughed, smiled and high-fived her way to victory in a manner that was far from customary in a sport that can often look like it’s going through the process of rigor mortis.

She was dubbed the Smiling Cinderella. Matsuyama looked more like the Pensive Prince Charming yesterday as he plunged his opening drive into the trees.

By the time he’d dunted a nervy chip onto the green, his lead had already been trimmed in half as Augusta debutant Zalatoris, playing in the third last match, birdied his first two holes to heap on some early pressure.

The last rookie to win The Masters was Fuzzy Zoeller back in 1979. It was the ‘Z’ for Zalatoris that was the talk of the early exchanges last night.

Matsuyama gathered himself superbly, though, and a birdie at the second swiftly repaired the damage before a brace of gains at eight and nine helped him stave off any menacing advances from the rest. By the time he’d marched on to his back nine, he was six clear and putting together a composed, clinical display of front-running golf.

While Zalatoris eventually finished second, Xander Schaufelle mounted a robust surge and four birdies in a row on the back nine really got him back in the thick of it after a blip.

When Matsuyama, with the adrenaline pumping, flew the 15th green and ended up in the water the door was left ajar and Schaufelle made birdie in a two shot swing.

That timely tonic was quickly dampened on the next as Schaufelle plonked his tee-shot into the water. A triple-bogey six was a crushing blow and Matsuyama had his arms in the sleeves of the green jacket.

“My nerves started on the first and stayed with me right to the final putt,” hes aid of this seismic triumph. “Hopefully I’ll be a pioneer for Jan and Asian golf and hopefully others will follow.”

With Zalatoris in second, Jordan Spieth, the 2015 champion, shared third alongside Schaufelle with Jon Rahm and Marc Leishman tying for fifth.

MacIntyre, meanwhile, showed all the fighting qualities that we have become accustomed to. His last hole three, when he needed it to secure a return to Augusta, summed up the left-hander’s spirit.

"I've played great for my first year and I've tried to manage my way around a golf course I've never played before, that I've only seen on computer games with my pals,” he said with a smile. “It's completely different being here and in the battle."

"If I'd known this golf course more, who knows, I might have been up there competing. But just now, I'm happy enough with the way I played."

Matsuyama took the ultimate prize but MacIntyre may have done enough to have earned a socially-distanced ticker tape parade in Oban too.