The Daily Manila Shimbun


Golf: Matsuyama 2nd going into final round at Tournament of Champions

January 8, 2017

KAPALUA, Hawaii - Japan's world No. 6 Hideki Matsuyama played himself into contention at the SBS Tournament of Champions on Saturday, moving into second place two shots behind American Justin Thomas with 18 holes to play. Matsuyama's 7-under 66 was the day's equal-best round, with the only blemish coming on the par-3 eighth hole where he carded a bogey. Otherwise, he was nearly flawless, particularly on the back nine where he shot five birdies, including a chip-in from the fringe of the 14th green. "It was a round with few mistakes. The score improved much more than I expected after playing not worrying about it too much," said Matsuyama, who looks to have carried over the hot form that saw him win the World Golf Championships' HSBC Champions in late 2016. "It's nice to see my name up there (at the top of the leaderboard), not playing here last year it was a goal of mine to get back here, and hopefully I can play well and come back every year," he said. On Saturday, Thomas shot his third straight round of 67. Like Matsuyama, the world No. 22 American has been enjoying stellar recent form, with a win in October's CIMB Classic the highlight. Thomas went around the par-73 layout with five birdies and a bogey, but the highlight of the day was his eagle on the par 4 seventh which he rolled in after driving the green. "It was a good day score-wise, it could have been a lot lower, but that's golf," Thomas said. "I played well tee-to-green, but for some reason, I wasn't as comfortable with the putter today, and even some of the putts I hit well didn't go in." Ryan Moore, who was tied with Thomas for the lead after 36 holes, had a 71 on the day, dropping him four shots behind the leader to fourth while world No. 1 Australian Jason Day was unable to make inroads, shooting 70 and leaving himself in a tie for 13th and out of contention. Matsuyama said he will approach the final round the same way as he did the preceding three -- looking at the bigger picture. "I will try to play tomorrow again not thinking about my score," said the Japanese No. 1. "My weaknesses, they might not be obvious to people who watchgolf, but I know what they are and hopefully I can overcome them." (Kyodo News)