Course record 63 lifts Matsuyama to
halfway lead at BMW
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[August 17, 2019]
(Reuters) - Hideki Matsuyama had
one of the best putting days of his career to take the halfway lead
with a course-record nine-under 63 in the second round at the BMW
Championship in suburban Chicago on Friday.
The putter, so often the weak link in the Japanese player's game,
did not let Matsuyama down as he cranked out nine birdies at Medinah,
five times holing out from outside 15 feet.
He capped off his day by sinking a 25-footer at the 17th and then a
30-footer at the last for a 12-under 132 total, one stroke better
than Americans Tony Finau (66) and Patrick Cantlay (67) in the
penultimate event of the PGA Tour season.
Tiger Woods languished equal 48th in the 69-man field, 10 strokes
off the pace after a second straight 71.
Matsuyama, ranked as high as second in the world two years ago, was
delighted for a change with his form on the greens.
"I made a lot of long putts today and that was the difference," he
"It started yesterday during my round. Halfway through I was able to
see what I was doing (wrong) on the greens and I fixed it and it
carried over to today.
"Honestly I thought I pushed that putt (at the 18th) but somehow it
found the bottom of the cup."
Matsuyama is 33rd in the FedEx Cup standings and needs a strong
finish on Sunday to advance as part of the 30-man field for next
week's Tour Championship.
It would be his fifth successive appearance in the exclusive event.
He has nine rivals within three strokes starting the weekend,
including former world number one Justin Thomas (69), two behind.
Equal second, Finau has set the foundation for a tilt at what would
only be his second PGA Tour victory, though what he lacks in
silverware he makes up for in consistency.
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Hideki Matsuyama walks the 12th hole during the second round of the
BMW Championship golf tournament at Medinah Country Club - No. 3.
Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports
"I know there's a lot at stake this week but the best I can do is
try to stay in the moment," said the prodigiously long hitter, who
has had a pair of runner-up finishes this season.
World number nine Cantlay, who tasted victory this season at the
prestigious Jack Nicklaus-hosted Memorial, rated a par at the 15th
hole as important as any of his birdies on Friday.
"I made some good par saves, especially after driving the ball into
the water on 15," he said. "It's always nice to go bogey-free."
Ten strokes from the lead was Bryson DeChambeau, who became the
poster boy for slow play when a video of him taking two minutes to
line up a putt went viral during last week's Northern Trust event.
DeChambeau was targeted by some heckling on Friday according to
broadcaster Golf Channel, which reported that a police officer had
ejected a spectator from the course on the 18th hole.
(Reporting by Andrew Both in Cary, North Carolina; Editing by Ian
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