Matsuyama warms up to task with 68 to take Zozo championship lead – .

Matsuyama warms up to task with 68 to take Zozo championship lead – .

Inzaï (Japan) (AFP)

The United States Masters champion, playing in front of his avid home fans at the Accordia Golf Narashino Country Club outside Tokyo, allowed a 68 in the second round to go to eight under par.

Matsuyama, Japan’s only major male winner, has a one-shot lead over American Cameron Tringale, who had a superb four-under of 66 on a cold and wet day that made the course play a lot more par 70. long as his 7,041 yards.

The thermometer hovered around 15 degrees Celsius (59F) with rain falling steadily during the first PGA Tour tournament in Asia since the coronavirus pandemic, causing just 30 of the 78 elite men to beat par.

Matsuyama’s controlled demonstration, with three birdies and a lone bogey, delighted the thousands of spectators who came to follow their hero in miserable conditions.

Bad weather did not prevent thousands of spectators from cheering their hero Hideki Matsuyama at the Zozo championship on Friday. Takashi AOYAMA AFP

“It wasn’t a perfect lap, but I played well. I’m happy with it, ”Matsuyama said.

“It’s not often that we play in the rain and the cold at the same time, but I’m happy with the lap and it was a good day. “

Tringale, chasing a first PGA Tour victory 12 years after turning pro, finished with a birdie to tie the low lap of the day with a 66.

“I left myself in the right positions on these greens and was able to make a few putts. It was the day, ”said the 34-year-old.

” It was cold ” –

ScHotele, returning to the country where he won Olympic gold less than three months ago, had a shocking start shooting 74.

Playing with Matsuyama, he started with a scruffy double bogey and collapsed on three more bogeys in the next four holes. He’s heading for the weekend at 12 head shots.

Chilean Joaquin Niemann took a long time to get under way in the cold. “It was cold,” he said Takashi AOYAMA AFP

Among the pursuers, Matsuyama President’s Cup teammate Joaquin Niemann was slow to get started.

The Chilean was three above par for his round with four to go, but managed to find two birdies for a 71 to give him a total of five under par which keeps him firmly in the hunt for the winner’s check. of $ 1,791,000.

“It was freezing cold,” said the smiling South American, rubbing his hands frantically to warm them. “I couldn’t feel my hands and managed to do a good lap so I’m happy. “

Matsuyama had rated his form as “one in 10” earlier in the week, but Niemann had none.

“He says he’s not playing his best golf?” I think he’s playing pretty well, ”said Niemann.

Two-time major champion Collin Morikawa regained his form after struggling on Matchday 1, a 68 bringing him to one under, seven in the lead.

And there are two Englishmen at the far right of the standings, both of whom seemed to revel in conditions closer to a British summer.

Tommy Fleetwood was one of two Englishmen who appeared to be reveling in the rain with Matt Wallace
Tommy Fleetwood was one of two Englishmen who appeared to be reveling in the rain with Matt Wallace Takashi AOYAMA AFP

Matt Wallace followed his first round 65 with a 69 to go down to six under, tied with American Brendan Steele and two behind Matsuyama.

Ryder Cup star Tommy Fleetwood birdied the last to a shot further after a 68.

“It’s kind of like home,” Wallace said. “But you have to take advantage of it and you have to embrace it.

“It was cold, humid, the greens are soft and a little slower. It was just a tough day. “

Steele will look forward to the sun this weekend when the forecast looks better.

“I’m from California, I don’t play in the rain,” he said with a smile after a 68-year-old two-under.

“When it rains, I stay indoors. I was just happy to hold on today. “


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