KIAWAH ISLAND, S.C. (Reuters) – Relentless Hideki Matsuyama shows no signs of a Masters hangover, only two strokes from the halfway lead at the PGA Championship.
Despite a bogey at the tough 18th hole, Matsuyama matched the day’s best score, a four-under-par 68 in punishing winds at Kiawah Island, to finish the second round tied for fourth at three-under 141 on Friday.
His stellar form comes even though he did not compete for a month while quarantining back home in Japan after becoming the first player from the nation to win a major title.
Now Matsuyama has set himself up to springboard into a chance to win consecutive majors, though there is still a long way to go.
“I really hit my driver and second shots very well today, and that gave me a lot of birdie opportunities, which I was able to capitalize on,” he said.
“Hopefully my play today will carry over to the weekend.”
Matsuyama made five of his six birdies on the downwind holes on Friday, and avoided disaster on the tough holes, accruing only two bogeys.
“Being able to make birdies on those downwind holes makes it a whole lot easier because you’re not under the pressure,” he said.
(Reporting by Andrew Both; Editing by Stephen Coates)