Mat­suyama shares lead

Muscat Daily - - SPORTS -

Charlotte, US - Hideki Mat­suyama birdied five of the last seven holes to seize a share of the lead with Kevin Kis­ner in Fri­day's storm-hit sec­ond round of the 99th PGA Cham­pi­onship.

World No 3 Mat­suyama, com­ing off a World Golf Championships vic­tory last week at Akron, fired a bo­gey-free seven-un­der par 64 to match Kis­ner at eight-un­der 134 for 36 holes at Quail Hol­low in the year's fi­nal major tour­na­ment.

"I don't know if the other play­ers should be ner­vous or not, but this is my first ex­pe­ri­ence lead­ing a major, or tied for the lead, af­ter 36 holes," Mat­suyama said. "So be­ing a new ex­pe­ri­ence, maybe I'll be a lit­tle ner­vous.

"But on the other hand, I'm look­ing for­ward to the week­end and see­ing how I do."

A thun­der­storm that halted play for nearly an hour and 45 min­utes came af­ter Mat­suyama had made three con­sec­u­tive birdies start­ing at the 12th hole, but he took ad­van­tage of wet con­di­tions when play re­sumed and added birdies at the par-five 15th and par-3 17th.

Mat­suyama, whose six top-ten fin­ishes in 20 prior major starts in­clude a run­ner-up ef­fort at this year's US Open, could be- come 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.

Aus­tralia's Ja­son Day, the 2015 PGA win­ner and last year's run­ner-up, fired a 66 to stand third on 136.

Shar­ing fourth at five-un­der 137 in the club­house were Italy's Francesco Moli­nari, with a bo­gey-free 64, and South African Louis Oosthuizen, who shot a bo­gey-free 67.

Long af­ter 25th-ranked Kis­ner reached the club­house with his sec­ond con­sec­u­tive 67, play­ers once fear­ful of light­ning-fast greens at­tacked the damp­ened putting sur­faces af­ter the de­lay and soared up the leader­board.

Day, also on a run of three con­sec­u­tive birdies af­ter a tap-in ea­gle at seven when the de­lay came, found trees off the tee and a bo­gey at 11 when play re­sumed, but bounced back with a 46-foot birdie putt at 13 and a 12-footer at 14.

Kis­ner, a US PGA Tour win­ner three months ago at Colonial, won his first US PGA Tour vic­tory at Sea Is­land, Ge­or­gia, in 2015 in his 109th at­tempt.

Fourth-ranked Rory McIl­roy fired his sec­ond con­sec­u­tive 72 to stand ten shots adrift. He made four bo­geys in five holes on the front side, then an­swered with birdies at the par-five seventh and par-4 eighth.

World No 2 Jor­dan Spi­eth, who won the Bri­tish Open last

month, is chasing his fourth ca­reer major ti­tle and com­ple­tion of a ca­reer Grand Slam at age 24, but closed with a bo­gey to shoot 73 and stand 11 strokes off the pace.

(AFP)

Hideki Mat­suyama plays his shot from the 17th tee at Quail Hol­low Club in Charlotte, US, on Fri­day

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