THE MIL­LION-DOL­LAR

Mat­suyama can’t imag­ine im­pact of major win for him, Ja­pan

New Straits Times - - Sport -

CHARLOTTE

HIDEKI Mat­suyama can’t imag­ine what im­pact be­com­ing the first Ja­panese men’s major golf cham­pion would have on him or his home­land, but he wants to find out today.

The 25-year-old World No 3 birdied five of the last seven holes at Quail Hol­low in a bo­gey-free seven-un­der 64 sec­ond round on Fri­day to grab a share of the lead with Amer­i­can Kevin Kis­ner at the PGA Cham­pi­onship.

Asked what win­ning the ground­break­ing ti­tle would mean for him and for Ja­panese golf, CHARLOTTE: Jor­dan Spi­eth ac­knowl­edged af­ter the sec­ond round of the PGA Cham­pi­onship that it will take some “crazy stuff ” for him to com­plete the ca­reer grand slam today.

Af­ter speak­ing so pos­i­tively ahead of the fi­nal major of the year, Spi­eth’s chal­lenge never left the launch pad over the first 36 holes at Quail Hol­low.

Eleven strokes be­hind at three­over 145, he will al­most cer­tainly have to wait an­other year to have Mat­suyama said through a trans­la­tor, “I’m not re­ally sure. That’s a dif­fi­cult ques­tion, one that’s hard to think about, what ef­fect that would have on my life, my fam­ily’s life.

“I’m not sure. I try to imag­ine, but we still have a lot of golf to play.

“Hope­fully, come Sun­day, I can come back (as cham­pion) and that would help in­crease the pop­u­lar­ity of the men’s game in Ja­pan.”

Mat­suyama fired a 61 last Sun­day to win the World Golf Championships event in Akron, call­ing it prob­a­bly the best round of his ca­reer. It’s also a boost that has an op­por­tu­nity to com­plete the grand slam of all four modern ma­jors.

His putting let him down in the first round, while on Fri­day he played too con­ser­va­tively down the stretch in rel­a­tively easy lateafter­noon con­di­tions, af­ter rain had taken the sting out of the greens.

“I kind of ac­cept the fact that I’m essen­tially out of this tour­na­ment pend­ing some form of crazy stuff the next cou­ple of

EPA PIC

Jor­dan Spi­eth hits his ball from the sand dur­ing the sec­ond round of the PGA Cham­pi­onship on Fri­day.

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