Sunday, September 23, 2018

Hideki Matsuyama ties Kevin Kisner for PGA Championship Round 2 lead

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Hideki Matsuyama never looks satisfied with his shots or his score, no matter how good they look. Perhaps it will take winning a major to change that.

Five days after the 25-year-old Japanese star closed with 61 to win his second World Golf Championship event, Matsuyama motored through a dampened Quail Hollow with 7-under 64 that gave him a share of the clubhouse lead with Kevin Kisner (67) in the second round of the PGA Championship on Friday.

They were at 8-under 134, all but ending the hopes of Jordan Spieth to complete a career Grand Slam this year.

Heavy rain that caused play to be suspended for 1 hour, 43 minutes in the afternoon made Quail Hollow more vulnerable than it had been all week, only Spieth couldn't take advantage. He made only one birdie, finished with a bogey and shot 73 to sit 11 shots out of the lead.

"I kind of accept the fact that I'm essentially out of this tournament, pending some form of crazy stuff the next couple of days," Spieth said.

Asked what he needed to get in contention, Spieth said, "Probably 54 would be nice."

Kisner faced tougher, faster conditions in the morning and holed a 50-foot eagle putt from short of the green on the par-5 seventh hole. When his round was over, Kisner had a five-shot lead over the players from his side of the draw. It didn't look as though anyone would get close.

"These guys going out (Friday) afternoon, they break 70, they've done a (great) job," Rory McIlroy said after a 73 that put him 10 shots back.

A light rain began falling not long after McIlroy's prediction.

Then, the storms rolled in with heavy rain that drenched the course and forced the delay. And when the round resumed, it felt like an entirely different course.

Jason Day, who played a four-hole stretch in 5 under around the turn and before the storms, began smashing driver without regard that his ball might run through the fairways and into the rough. He shot 66 and was two shots behind.

There were pitch marks on the putting surfaces. There were splotches of mud on the sides of balls. But the biggest difference was that the rain took the fear out of putting on the fast, frightening greens and sent scores tumbling.

Francesco Molinari also shot 64 and was at 5-under 137, along with Louis Oosthuizen (67).

Matsuyama, finishing his swing with one hand as tee shots found the fairway, already was playing great and putting even better. The storm delay did not stop him.

He ran off four straight birdies starting on No. 12. When the round resumed, Matsuyama got up-and-down for birdie on the 15th, saved par from a bunker on the 16th and drilled a 7-iron over the bunker to 7 feet for birdie on the par-3 17th.

The second round was halted by darkness, leaving 26 players who were scheduled to return this morning to finish.

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