Matsuyama takes leads at halfway on home soil at Zozo Championship

By Sports Desk October 22, 2021

Hideki Matsuyama has hit the front at the halfway mark of the Zozo Championship on home soil, holding a one-shot lead from Cameron Tringale.

The 2021 Masters champion, who had been second following the opening day, carded a two-under-par 68 on the second round to claim the lead at eight under after 36 holes.

Opening-round leader Hiroshi Iwata struggled with a three-over-par 73 to slip four shots off the pace.

Matsuyama had three birdies and one bogey for his round in cold and rainy conditions in Chiba.

Tringale moved up the leaderboard with a four-under 66 that included five birdies, finishing by sinking a long putt to be within one shot of Matsuyama.

Englishman Matt Wallace birdied his final three holes to be two shots behind the Japanese leader and level with Brendan Steele at six under after 36 holes.

Tommy Fleetwood is five under, with Sebastian Munoz equaling Tringale's round to be four under after two days alongside a group of five other players including Iwata.

Open champion Collin Morikawa is seven strokes behind after a two-under 68, while Tokyo Olympic gold medalist Xander Schauffele struggled with a round of 74 to be 12 shots back.

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    Tiger Woods says Rory McIlroy "made it look very easy" after the Northern Irishman set the early pace on day one of the US PGA Championship.

    Seeking a first major in eight years, McIlroy carded five-under 65 to take a one-shot lead into the clubhouse at Southern Hills on Thursday.

    The 33-year-old, who won this event in 2012 and 2014, closed with a birdie on the final hole – his seventh of the day – to put himself in strong contention for another title.

    He teed off in a marquee group alongside Jordan Spieth and Woods, who carded 74 and 72 respectively, with the latter impressed by what he saw from McIlroy.

    "Obviously you can shoot something in the mid-60s, Rory proved that today," Woods told Sky Sports. "He made it look very easy. 

    "He had a couple of shots where he slipped away and he still shot five under and made it look very easy."

    McIlroy, who finished second in last month's Masters after shooting a record-equalling eight-under 64 on the final day, is not getting carried away just yet.

    "I came in here knowing that my game was in good shape," McIlroy said. "So it's just a matter of going out there and executing the shots that you know that you can.

    "Today I did that very well and I just need to try to replicate that tomorrow, Saturday, Sunday and not get ahead of myself, but it was a great start."

    While McIlroy is in a strong position, Woods faces an uphill battle to make the cut, as he did at the Masters last month, but he is not giving up hope of a big recovery on Friday.

    "It can be done, I've witnessed it first-hand, so hopefully I can put together something similar tomorrow and get myself back in this tournament," he said.

    The 15-time major winner is competing in just his second tournament since sustaining serious leg and foot injuries in a car accident 15 months ago.

    Woods felt some discomfort towards the end of an erratic opening round, which ended with him nine strokes behind McIlroy.

    "Physically, I've felt better," he told Sky Sports. "Emotionally, I've actually felt better too. 

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