Matsuyama fires 64, two pictures behind Schauffele

Golf

KAWAGOE, Japan — Dealing with excessive expectations at house and low vitality from his COVID-19 restoration, Hideki Matsuyama stayed on tempo in his bid so as to add a gold medal in golf to his Masters inexperienced jacket.

Matsuyama holed a 5-foot birdie putt on the seventeenth gap Saturday morning and saved par from simply off the 18th inexperienced to finish a 7-under 64 within the rain-delayed second spherical of the lads’s competitors.

That left him two pictures behind Xander Schauffele, the 27-year-old American whose grandparents nonetheless dwell in Japan. Between them is Carlos Ortiz of Mexico.

They’re within the ultimate group for the third spherical of Kasumigaseki Nation Membership, with the Japanese star on the focal point.

“My feeling will not be that nice, however I’m coming into the weekend with an excellent situation,” Matsuyama mentioned. “So I wish to do my finest.”

These may have been the very best of instances in so some ways. Matsuyama’s victory at Augusta Nationwide in April took curiosity in golf to a different stage in a rustic that already had an enormous ardour for the game. However there are not any spectators allowed for these pandemic-delayed Olympics, and Kasumigaseki is basically empty.

Matsuyama didn’t come into this occasion in the very best kind. Together with pedestrian outcomes since he gained the Masters, he had a optimistic COVID-19 take a look at a month in the past and did not apply for 10 days. That is his first time enjoying the weekend for the reason that U.S. Open in June.

He fearful as a lot about his stamina of strolling 72 holes on a rain-soaked course. Thunderstorms have suspended play every of the previous two days, and the second spherical couldn’t be accomplished till Saturday morning.

Schauffele birdied his final three holes Friday afternoon — the ultimate putt he made was simply minutes earlier than the horn sounded to cease play once more due to extra lightning — for a 63 to tie the Olympic document in a sport that returned to this system in 2016.

He was at 11-under 131, one shot forward of Ortiz (67) and Matsuyama.

Ten gamers have been separated by 4 pictures going into the third spherical, a gaggle that included the Irish duo of Rory McIlroy and Shane Lowry.

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