Fun-loving Matsuyama moves ahead #HSBCChampions

Fri 28 Oct 2016

Fun-loving Matsuyama moves ahead #HSBCChampions

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Shanghai, October 28: Japan’s Hideki Matsuyama went on a brilliant birdie blitz to head to the top of the leaderboard with his second round seven-under-par 65 at the WGC-HSBC Champions on Friday.
The Japanese, who broke into the top-10 on the Official World Golf Ranking this week, took his total birdie count to 19 after 36 holes, which also gave him a comfortable three-shot advantage heading into the weekend rounds.
Defending champion Russell Knox of Scotland together with Bill Haas of the United States share second place after returning with a 68 and 67 respectively at the Sheshan International Golf Club.
England's Richard Bland, Italian Francesco Molinari and American Daniel Berger are tied for fourth on matching 136.
Fresh off a second placed finish in Malaysia last week, Matsuyama continued to show his rich vein of form at the US$9.5million Chinese showpiece.
Although the 24-year-old does not have the best record in the season's final World Golf Championships event, only completing the tournament on one of his three visits when he finished 41st in 2014, all that seemed to change when he returned with the lowest round of the day.
“I haven't really played well here before. So before coming here, I was a little bit nervous again, thinking, well, maybe it's not going to be a good week for me.
“But then I decided, oh, wait a minute, let's just have fun this week. That made the difference,” said the Japanese.
Matsuyama opened with a bogey-five on the par-four first. He recovered quickly with two successive birdies from the second before adding another pair on holes seven and eight.
The Japanese then went on a birdie blitz in his back-nine with five birdies for an inward-31 to compile a two-day total of 13-under-par 131.
“During the warm up this morning, it was starting to get windy and I thought maybe just a couple under par would be a good score. So I'm really happy with how it ended up today,” said Matsuyama.
Knox followed up his opening day's 66 with a 68 on a cold and windy day in Shanghai.
The Scot birdied the second but gave the shot straight back before setting up a tap-in birdie with a stunning approach to the fifth.
Another gain came on the seventh hole followed by another on the par-five eighth. He then made his fifth birdie of the day on the 12th hole.
"I'm thrilled. Conditions were extremely difficult and I played well. I had a couple of chances there at the end which I would have loved to have made but it was hard out there.
“I was a little cold but I'm built for this. As much as I would say I don't enjoy playing in this, I'm good at it. So I hope it's like this on the weekend. You have to try and find your edge. So if you have a good attitude when the weather gets bad like that, you can maybe pick up half a shot mentally," said Knox.
Haas made a fast start with birdies on the second, third and fifth holes. He made back-to-back gains on 10 and 11 which moved him to 10-under.
He bogeyed 13 before recovering well again with another birdie on 16.
“I’m very proud of my score considering the difficult conditions and being able to shoot some good scores. After all, I've had plenty of bad rounds into the wind.
“You just have to focus on hitting a solid shot, and if it the wind affects it, it affects it. You just have to play for it,” said the American.
For more details on the WGC-HSBC Champions and all ticket information, please visit www.HSBCgolf.com/mens or follow official WeChat account: HSBCChampions
Leading Scores after round 2 of the WGC - HSBC Champions being played at the par 72, 7261 Yards Sheshan International Golf Club course (am - denotes amateur):
131 - Hideki MATSUYAMA (JPN) 66-65.
134 - Bill HAAS (USA) 67-67, Russell KNOX (SCO) 66-68.
136 - Francesco MOLINARI (ITA) 67-69, Richard BLAND (ENG) 68-68, Daniel BERGER (USA) 66-70.
137 - Ross FISHER (ENG) 69-68, Rory MCILROY (NIR) 71-66, ZHANG Xinjun (CHN) 68-69, Paul CASEY (ENG) 67-70.
138 - Dean BURMESTER (RSA) 68-70, Rickie FOWLER (USA) 65-73.
139 - Rikard KARLBERG (SWE) 64-75, Lee WESTWOOD (ENG) 69-70, Emiliano GRILLO (ARG) 72-67, Chris WOOD (ENG) 69-70, Matt KUCHAR (USA) 73-66.
140 - Sergio GARCIA (ESP) 68-72, Martin KAYMER (GER) 72-68, Alex NOREN (SWE) 68-72, Joost LUITEN (NED) 72-68, Henrik STENSON (SWE) 69-71.
141 - Justin THOMAS (USA) 71-70, Kevin CHAPPELL (USA) 70-71, Thomas PIETERS (BEL) 71-70.
142 - WU Ashun (CHN) 73-69, Shane LOWRY (IRL) 74-68.
143 - Ryan MOORE (USA) 71-72, Charl SCHWARTZEL (RSA) 72-71, Thongchai JAIDEE (THA) 70-73, Brooks KOEPKA (USA) 73-70, Bernd WIESBERGER (AUT) 71-72, Jason KOKRAK (USA) 70-73.
Ends.
 
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