WASHINGTON (AFP) – Japan’s Hideki Matsuyama shattered the course record at Medinah with a nine-under par 63 early yesterday to seize the early second-round lead at the US PGA BMW Championship while Tiger Woods struggled again.
Matsuyama, a 2017 US Open runner-up seeking his sixth US tour title, birdied five of the first eight holes and four of the final seven in a bogey-free round to stand on 12-under 132 after 36 holes at the famed suburban Chicago layout.
“It seemed like every birdie chance I had today I made the putt,” Matsuyama said. “Add it up, that’s what I got.”
His total was two strokes under the old course mark of 65 shared by first-round co-leaders Justin Thomas and Jason Kokrak and previously held by Woods, Skip Kendall and Canada’s Mike Weir.
Americans Tony Finau and Patrick Cantlay shared second in the clubhouse on 133, one stroke off Matsuyama’s pace.
Thomas carded a 69 and was alone on 134 with a fifth-place pack in the clubhouse on 135 that included Canadians Adam Hadwin and Corey Conners, Slovakia’s Rory Sabbatini and Americans Lucas Glover, Chez Reavie and Xander Schauffele.
Woods, a 15-time major champion who won his first major since 2008 at this year’s Masters, sank birdie putts from 13 and 20 feet at the 14th and 15th holes but made bogeys at 16 and 17 to fire his second consecutive 71, 10 adrift of leader Matsuyama.
“I left quite a few shots out there,” Woods said. “I hit the ball a lot better today, which is great, and didn’t really make anything until 14, 15.”
Woods slid even further from his goal of cracking the top 30 on the PGA playoff season points list to earn a chance to defend his Tour Championship title next week in Atlanta.
“I’m going to have a great weekend and make a lot of birdies this week and post some rounds in the mid-60s to give myself a chance,” he said.
Woods, who has complained about lack of practice after pulling out last week at Liberty National with an oblique strain, won the 1999 and 2006 PGA Championship titles at Medinah.
“My feel has not been where I want it,” Woods said. “Hit the ball pin high every time… I certainly have not made many putts. Putt well and I’ll shoot good scores. I haven’t done that.”
Matsuyama, also needing a strong result this week to advance, sank a 28-foot birdie putt on the first hole, a 10-footer for birdie at four and two-putted from 30 feet to birdie the par-5 fifth.
He put his approach to six feet and made the birdie putt at the par-5 seventh and sank a 16-footer for birdie at the par-3 eighth, then followed a tap-in birdie at 12 with a 17-footer at the par-3 13th.
Matsuyama closed his round with his fourth pair of back-to-back birdies on the day, sinking a 23-footer at the par-3 17th and closing with a 30-foot birdie putt at 18.
“I was really happy with that birdie putt, really to make that,” Matsuyama said.