Hideki Matsuyama ground his way into the lead in cold and wet conditions at the US PGA Tour’s Zozo Championship Friday on a day to forget for Tokyo Olympic champion Xander Schauffele.
The US Masters champion, playing in front of his fervent home fans at Accordia Golf Narashino Country Club outside Tokyo, carded a second-round 68 to move to eight-under par.
Matsuyama, Japan’s only male major winner, has a one-stroke lead over American Cameron Tringale, who had a superb four-under 66 on a chilly, damp day that made the par-70 course play much longer than its 7,041 yards.
The thermometer hovered around 15 Celsius (59F) with rain steadily falling on the PGA Tour’s first tournament in Asia since the coronavirus pandemic, resulting in only 30 of the elite 78-man field breaking par.
Matsuyama’s controlled display, with three birdies and a solitary bogey, delighted the thousands of spectators who turned out to follow their hero in miserable conditions.
“It wasn’t a perfect round, but I played well. I’m happy with it,” said Matsuyama.
“It’s not often that we play in rain and cold at the same time, but I’m happy with the round and it was a good day.”
Tringale, chasing a first PGA Tour win 12…
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