January 22, 2018

Matsuyama feels pressure as he eyes major for Japan

14 August 2017, 01:23 | Joan Schultz

Quail Hollow Club neighbors sell PGA parking spots for top dollar

What's wrong with Rory McIlroy? Not as much as you might think.

"He played good coming in and then gave it all away, so that's tough", said playing companion Kevin Kisner. Then the storms arrived, and everything changed. Last weekend's other big victor was Matsuyama, who fired a closing 61 to capture the World Golf Championships event in Akron, Ohio, and serve notice he was ready to challenge for a major title after a US Open runner-up effort in June.

Jason Day started looking like the player who was No. 1 for so much of previous year. He is a two-time victor on the PGA Tour but has lost four play-offs for further titles, leaving some fans doubting his ability to close out the tournament.

"The greens here at Quail Hollow, as you know, are really fast".

That could leave the final major of the year up for grabs over the final 36 holes on the weekend, but not for everybody. "That wasn't the goal", Spieth said. "I feel like I have the game to compete in majors, and tons of 30th, 40th and 50th-place finishes".

Pre-championship favourite Rory McIlroy was also out of contention, 11 back and already looking towards next season. He said anyone who broke 70 was going great.

Day ran between shots from the 17th green to the 18th green in the gathering gloom, trying to keep as much twilight as possible as he closed with four pars.

But that was before the rain. If form holds, that would mean we get a 69 or better from Matsuyama on Sunday which might be enough to win.

Matsuyama has more experience on the big stage.

CHARLOTTE - Unlike Jean Van de Velde or the fictional Roy McAvoy, Jason Day didn't wait until Sunday to endure a final-hole implosion.

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Matsuyama, who won the Bridgestone Invitational last week, motored through the dampened course with a 7-under 64 to surge into a tie with Kisner.

Kisner is all about grit and a sharp short game. He was at 5 over, right on the cut line, but facing the two easiest holes on the front nine of Quail Hollow. He has shot two rounds of 67 in the toughest conditions.

"Yeah, I putted better", he said.

Hideki Matsuyama (6 under): I have some Matsuyama stats.

Matsuyama, whose six top-10 finishes in 20 prior major starts include a runner-up effort at this year's US Open, could become the first Japanese man to win a major title and only the second Asian man to claim a major crown after South Korea's Yang Yong-Eun at the 2009 PGA.

Things started to go haywire right after he made the turn.

He looked like the Day of old on Friday at Quail Hollow with his power off the tee and putting touch.

They were tied at a total of eight-under 134 after two rounds. "And being able to combine that today, just felt like the old days - which is only previous year". He battled through a wrist injury on Saturday after hitting a tree to post an even-par 71, but this just isn't feeling like a Louis Oosthuizen major championship.

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