Mat­suyama, Kis­ner new lead duo

25-year-old Ja­panese star fires 7-un­der 64; Spi­eth is far be­hind

The Denver Post - - SPORTS - By Doug Fer­gu­son

CHARLOTTE, N.C.» Hideki Mat­suyama never looks sat­is­fied with his shots or his score, no mat­ter how good they look.

Per­haps it will take win­ning a ma­jor to change that.

Fri­day, only five days af­ter the 25-yearold Ja­panese star closed with a siz­zling 61 to post his sec­ond World Golf Cham­pi­onship tour­na­ment vic­tory, Mat­suyama mo­tored through a damp­ened Quail Hol­low with a 7un­der-par 64 that gave him a share of the lead with Kevin Kis­ner (67) af­ter two rounds of the 99th PGA Cham­pi­onship.

They were at 8-un­der 134 over­all, all but end­ing the hopes of Jor­dan Spi­eth to get the ca­reer Grand Slam this year.

Heavy rain that sus­pended play Fri­day af­ter­noon made Quail Hol­low more vul­ner­a­ble than it has been all week, but Spi­eth couldn’t take ad­van­tage. The 24-year-old Texan made only one birdie, fin­ished with a bo­gey and shot a 2-over 73. He goes into the week­end 11 shots out of the lead.

“I kind of ac­cept the fact that I’m es­sen­tially out of this tour­na­ment pend­ing some form of crazy stuff the next cou­ple of days,” Spi­eth said.

Kis­ner faced tougher, faster con­di­tions in the morn­ing and holed a 50-foot eagle putt from short of the green on the par-5 sev­enth hole. When his round was over, Kis­ner had a five-shot lead over the play­ers from his side of the draw.

“These guys go­ing out this af­ter­noon, they break 70, they’ve done a (heck) of a job,” Rory McIl­roy said af­ter a 73 that put him 10 shots back.

Light rain be­gan fall­ing not long af­ter McIl­roy’s pre­dic­tion. Then, storms rolled in with heavy rain that drenched the course and forced a rain de­lay of 1 hour, 43 min­utes. And when the sec­ond round re­sumed, it felt like an en­tirely dif­fer­ent golf course.

Ja­son Day, who played a four-hole stretch in 5-un­der around the turn and be­fore the storms, be­gan smash­ing driver with­out re­gard that it might run through the fair­ways and into the rough. He shot a 5-un­der 66 and was two shots be­hind.

There were pitch marks on the greens. There were splotches of mud on the balls. But the big­gest dif­fer­ence was the rain took the fear out of putting on the fast, fright­en­ing greens and sent scores tum­bling.

Francesco Moli­nari also fired a 64 and was at 5-un­der 137 — along with Louis Oosthuizen, who shot a 67.

Mat­suyama, fin­ish­ing his swing with one hand as tee shots found the fair­way, al­ready was play­ing great and putting even bet­ter. The storm de­lay did not stop him.

He ran off four con­sec­u­tive birdies start­ing on No. 12 when he hit his ap­proach into 12 feet. That was the long­est of his seven birdie putts, though he also made a 20-foot par putt on the ninth hole. When the round re­sumed, Mat­suyama got up-and-down for a birdie on the 15th, saved par from a bunker on the 16th and then drilled a 7-iron over the bunker to 7 feet for a birdie on the par-3 17th. He had a putt just over 12 feet for a birdie on the 18th that would have tied the PGA Cham­pi­onship record of 63, but it missed to the left.

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