Keith Mitchell built a commanding five-shot lead entering the weekend following another impressive round at The CJ Cup.

Mitchell carded an eight-par-under 64 to soar to the top of the leaderboard after the second round in Nevada on Friday.

The one-time PGA Tour champion dazzled with a first-round 62 and the American backed that up by holing an eagle, seven birdies and just one bogey.

Mitchell is the player to beat at the halfway stage after setting a new tournament 36-hole record at 18 under.

"I spent a lot of time in the last few days leading up to this tournament working hard on my game and it's showing," said Mitchell, whose lone victory came at the 2019 Honda Classic.

"I'm very thankful for that. Just shows you that hard work pays off as long as you're doing the right things."

Former world number one Jordan Spieth (65), Kim Seong-hyeon (63), Harry Higgs (67) and Adam Scott (63) are Mitchell's nearest challengers at 13 under heading into Saturday's penultimate round.

Spieth made his move late in the day with four birdies in five holes to earn a share of second position, while another former world number one – Scott – enjoyed a red-hot finish to his day after going birdie-birdie-eagle-birdie-par-birdie-eagle in his last seven holes.

Scott's second round included a career-high 14 one putts, having played the final seven holes eight under – his best seven-hole stretch to close a round on Tour.

Four-time major champion Rory McIlroy (67) shot his second round in the 60s to move into a tie for 19th position, nine shots behind Mitchell – alongside Abraham Ancer, who made an albatross on the par-five 14th hole, while Masters winner Hideki Matsuyama (70) and two-time CJ Cup champion Justin Thomas (67) are a stroke further back.

American star Brooks Koepka lost ground following his two-under-par 70 which left him seven under, while Dustin Johnson bounced back from his opening-round 74 with a 66.

Robert Streb leads The CJ Cup by one stroke following the opening round as American star Dustin Johnson struggled.

Streb carded a career-low 11-under-par 61 to set the early pace at The Summit Club in Nevada on Thursday.

The two-time PGA Tour champion joined Brandt Snedeker (2007 Farmers Insurance Open) as the only players to start a tournament at seven under in their first six holes (in the ShotLink era).

Streb made a red-hot start, having gone birdie-birdie-eagle-birdie-birdie-birdie in his opening six holes and while he bogeyed the 11th following the turn, the American reeled off another five birdies to close out the day.

"I've never had a start like that, so it was kind of fun," Streb said. "I was trying to stay in the moment as best I can and, I don't know, you just feel like you can start aiming at stuff. Things seemed to be going my way.

"Slowed down a little I guess in the middle, but it was a really, really good round. Even that bogey, I almost made the putt, so it just went really well."

Countryman Keith Mitchell is Streb's nearest rival, while Harry Higgs is three strokes off the pace at eight under heading into the second round.

Sergio Garcia, Viktor Hovland and Hudson Swafford are a shot further back, one stroke better off than Masters champion Hideki Matsuyama, former world number one Jordan Spieth and Rickie Fowler.

Four-time major winner and 2018 champion Brooks Koepka shot a first-round 67 to be within six strokes of Streb, while Rory McIlroy – featuring for the first time since his dismal Ryder Cup campaign for Europe – posted a four-under-par 68.

Justin Thomas, a two-time winner of the event, had to settle for an opening-round 69 as former world number one Johnson endured a forgettable two-over-par 74.

After a flawless front nine, which featured two birdies, Johnson capitulated with a double-bogey and three bogeys on the back nine.

Im Sung-jae enjoyed a red-hot finish to claim the Shriners Children's Open title by four strokes on Sunday.

South Korean golfer Im rode a wave of nine birdies in a flawless final-round 62 to clinch his second PGA Tour crown.

Im – who eclipsed his personal record of birdies in a round – did not drop a shot at TPC Summerlin on the final day as the 23-year-old blitzed the field in Las Vegas.

With the win, Im has now triumphed in his 50th PGA Tour career start (2020 Honda Classic) and 100th (2021 Shriners Children's Open).

"I didn't have to worry about the wind, and I stayed relaxed the whole day," he said. "My driver, irons and putter came through when I needed them the most."

Im finished 24 under overall through 72 holes, ahead of American Matthew Wolff (68).

Marc Leishman (63), Rory Sabbatini (64) and overnight leader Adam Schenk (70) ended the tournament in a tie for third at 19 under.

Defending champion Martin Laird finished tied for 11th and eight strokes off the pace following his five-under-par 66.

As for four-time major winner Brooks Koepka, his final-round 73 saw him fall 20 shots behind and level alongside Masters champion Hideki Matsuyama (72) in a tie for 67th position.

Adam Schenk had a day to remember as he moved top of the Shriners Children's Open leaderboard by one stroke following a red-hot finish to his third round.

American golfer Schenk carded a five-under-par 66 to hit the front at the PGA Tour tournament in Las Vegas on Saturday.

Searching for his first PGA Tour title, the 29-year-old birdied three of the last four holes to seize control, with a birdie on the final hole ensuring Schenk finished the day 18 under and ahead of Matthew Wolff.

Schenk holds the outright 54-hole lead – the first of his career in a stroke-play event on Tour – thanks to seven total birdies and just two bogeys at TPC Summerlin.

"It was nice to finish off with a birdie," Schenk said. "Great day. I couldn't have shot many shots lower."

Wolff posted a six-under-par 65, his 11th score in the 60s in 11 career rounds at the Shriners Children's Open.

Andrew Putnam (66), Sam Burns (68) and Chad Ramey (69) are two strokes off the pace heading into Sunday's final round, while Im Sung-jae slipped to 15 under following his third-round 70.

Defending champion Martin Laird recorded a four-under-par 67 to catapult himself 15 positions into a tie for 15th, seven shots behind Schenk.

Brooks Koepka – the four-time major champion – is 12 strokes off the pace following his 72, alongside Viktor Hovland (73), while Masters winner Hideki Matsuyama (71) is five under overall.

Maverick McNealy soared to the top of the leaderboard at the halfway stage of the Fortinet Championship, but John Rahm's PGA Tour season debut ended in the world number one missing the cut.

McNealy earned a two-stroke lead following the second round of the 2021-22 season opener at Silverado Country Club, where the 25-year-old American carded an eight-under-par 64.

It is McNealy's lowest opening 36-hole score (68-64) on the PGA Tour.

However, Spanish star Rahm failed to qualify for the weekend after back-to-back rounds in the 70s in Napa, California.

Tuning up for the Ryder Cup, Rahm – who missed Wednesday's pro-am due to a stomach ailment, having placed second in the FedEx Cup play-offs – never got going, an opening-round 72 followed by a 71 as he finished one under, below the three-under cut line.

"I get to rest a couple extra days and be able to figure out what's going on with my swing, which technically is not really anything bad," said Rahm, who recorded his 13th missed cut in his 113th PGA Tour start, with his last missed cut at this year's Wells Fargo Championship.

"It's just I think a lot of those swings were made to look worse because of how tough it is out there."

Beau Hossler (64) and Mito Pereira (67) are tied for second and two shots adrift of McNealy heading into Saturday's third round, while Troy Merritt (68), Will Zalatoris (67) and Bronson Burgoon (67) are a stroke further back at nine under.

Rookie David Lipsky's second-round 64 was a nine-stroke improvement on his first round and a career-low round that included nine birdies, the most he has managed in a single round on Tour.

Lipsky is seven under through 36 holes, alongside the likes of Tom Hoge (66) and Peter Malnati (66), while Masters champion Hideki Matsuyama is a shot back following his three-under-par 69.

Six-time major champion Phil Mickelson posted a 69 to be tied for 24th and seven shots off the pace.

Bryson DeChambeau turned in a spectacular second round at the BWM Championship, shooting a career-best 60 Friday to rocket to the top of the leaderboard. 

DeChambeau carded a pair of eagles and eight birdies in a flawless round at Caves Valley Golf Club near Baltimore, Maryland, leaving him 16 under par for the tournament. 

Play was suspended due to darkness with 15 players still on the course, including first-round leader Jon Rahm. The second round of the FedEx Cup play-off event will conclude Saturday morning before the third round begins. 

Through the 15 holes he completed Friday, Rahm was one stroke back of DeChambeau at 15 under. Earlier in the day, Patrick Cantlay finished his round at 15 under after shooting 63. 

Sergio Garcia (67) and Im Sung-jae (65) were four back of DeChambeau at 12 under, while Hudson Swafford (66) was in at 11 under along with Sam Burns, who had one hole left to play. 

Rory McIlroy (70) was at 10 under with Abraham Ancer, who was four under for the round through 16 holes. 

The story of the day, though, was DeChambeau's run at a 59, which he said entered his mind after his eagle at 16.

He had putts for birdie at 17 and 18 but could not convert, saying his simply misread the six-foot putt on the last. 

Despite coming so close to the magic number, the American did not lament the final miss. 

"It's just one shot," he said. "There's plenty of holes where I could have made a birdie somewhere else not making it, I still executed a good putt, just didn't break the way I wanted it to. That's all I could ask for."

DeChambeau's previous low round was 62 at the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open last October and he was pleased to play as well as he did Friday. 

“It was an awesome opportunity," he said. "I had a couple birdie opportunities at 17 and 18, and it didn't happen but I’m still really proud of the way I handled myself, and it's great to feel some pressure again which is awesome.

“A lot of putts went in. A lot of things went right. We got a lot of great numbers out of the rough today, and I played my butt off and never thought too much about anything until the last few holes."

Elsewhere in the 69-man field, Olympic gold medallist Xander Schauffele (68) was at nine under, one shot better than Masters champion Hideki Matsuyama (69). 

Three-time tournament winner Dustin Johnson (70) was at seven under along with Brooks Koepka (67). 

Among those well back of the lead were Jordan Spieth (70) and Lee Westwood (70) at three under. Phil Mickelson was there, too, after completing just 13 holes Friday. 

Open Championship winner Collin Morikawa brought up the rear at three over for the tournament following a 75 that saw him card three bogeys and no birdies. 

Jon Rahm credited "Ted Lasso" for his magnificent display in the opening round of the BMW Championship as the world number one and defending tournament champion earned a share of the three-way lead.

Rahm carded a flawless eight-under-par 64 to top the leaderboard by one shot alongside fellow star Rory McIlroy and Sam Burns in the second PGA Tour FedEx Cup play-off event in Maryland, Baltimore on Thursday.

At The Northern Trust, Rahm appeared on track to claim the opening FedEx Cup tournament before fizzling out as the Spaniard fell short of a play-off in Monday's finish at Liberty National.

Rahm, however, bounced back at Caves Valley Golf Club, where he invoked the "Ted Lasso" mentality – the star character of the popular television show featuring Jason Sudeikis.

"I must say, for all those 'Ted Lasso' fans out there, be a goldfish," Rahm – second in the FedEx Cup rankings – said post-round after holing eight birdies without dropping a shot. "If you haven't seen the show, you've just got to check it out.

"Played great golf last week, just a couple bad swings down the stretch, and that's the most important thing to remember."

Former world number one McIlroy, who lamented fatigue prior to Thursday's first round, opened his BMW Championship campaign with an eagle, seven birdies and a bogey.

The 2016 and 2019 FedEx Cup champion enjoyed a bogey-free front nine, highlighted by the Northern Irishman's four birdies.

Burns, like Rahm, made it through 18 holes without dropping a shot as the American tallied eight birdies, including four in a row from the 11th to the 14th.

In a 70-man field, reduced from the top 125 points leaders at The Northern Trust, Sergio Garcia is one stroke adrift of the trio, while Abraham Ancer and Patrick Cantlay – fourth in the rankings – are six under.

FedEx Cup champion and three-time tournament winner Dustin Johnson ended the day five under following his first-round 67, alongside the likes of points leader Tony Finau, Xander Schauffele and Masters holder Hideki Matsuyama.

Cameron Smith, who lost to Finau in Monday's Northern Trust play-off, is four shots behind the leaders and he is joined by Phil Mickelson, Bryson DeChambeau and 2017 FedEx Cup winner Justin Thomas.

Four-time major champion Brooks Koepka posted a two-under-par 70, while Jordan Spieth shot a 71.

Russell Henley carded his first bogey of the tournament but still managed to double his lead at the Wyndham Championship on Friday. 

Seeking his first PGA Tour win in four years, Henley shot 64 in the second round and sits at 14 under par for the tournament. 

That left him four strokes up on Rory Sabbatini (64), Webb Simpson (65) and Scott Piercy (66) heading into the weekend in Greensboro, North Carolina. 

Starting on the back nine at the Sedgefield Country Club, Henley bogeyed number 12, his third hole of the day, before reeling off four consecutive birdies from 14 through 17.

Three more birdies coming home after the turn solidified his edge as he eyes his first win since the 2017 Houston Open. 

Henley's 126 matches the lowest 36-hole score posted on tour this season along with Stewart Cink at the RBC Heritage. 

Tokyo Olympics silver medallist Sabbatini had a bogey-free day to match Henley's round, while Simpson remained near the top of the leaderboard thanks in part to an eagle at the fifth. 

Simpson's success is no surprise, as he has finished in the top three at the Wyndham the last four years after winning it in 2011. 

Tyler Duncan had the best round of the day with a 62 that left him five shots back at nine under along with Justin Rose (65) and Brian Stuard (66). 

Among other notables, Bubba Watson (69) and Adam Scott are 10 strokes back at four under, one shot better than the cut line. 

Masters champion Hideki Matsuyama (69) missed the cut by a stroke, while former world number one Luke Donald (67) finished at one under and two-time major winner Zach Johnson fell short at even par along with defending tournament champion Jim Herman. 

Also finished for the week-end are Padraig Harrington (76) at two over, Rickie Fowler (72) at three over and Charl Schwartzel (73) at seven over. 

Fowler's missed cut means his season is over, as he will not make the FedEx Cup playoffs for the first time in his career. 

Two players who were tied for second after Thursday's opening round, Michael Thompson and Ted Potter Jr., also missed the cut after slumping to 74 and 77, respectively. 

World number 56 Russell Henley leads by two strokes from seven players after the opening day of the Wyndham Championship with play suspended late on Thursday.

Henley carded an eight-under-62 including an eagle on the fifth hole and three birdies on the final four to open up a two-shot lead at the Sedgefield Country Club in North Carolina.

The American leads from a group of players on six under including Sung Kang, Ted Potter Jr, Michael Thompson, Chris Kirk, Scott Piercy, Hudson Swafford and Adam Hadwin.

A long list of players were a further stroke back at five-under, led by Webb Simpson, Denny McCarthy, Kevin Kisner and Erik van Rooyen.

World number 19 Simpson fought back after a double bogey on the first hole, with eight birdies across his round.

All of the contenders except for Hadwin got through their 18 holes before play was suspended due to darkness after inclement weather had earlier interrupted. Hadwin got through 16 holes for his six under, with the first round to resume on Friday at 7:30am local time.

April's Masters winner Hideki Matsuyama finished his opening round with a one-under-69, double bogeying the fourth hole around birdies on the second and fifth.

Brian Harman, Kevin Na and Will Zalatoris ended the day two under, while American Jason Kokrak improved on his back nine to card an even round following a bogey and double bogey on the 14th and 15th holes.

American Austin Cook, who finished even, was cruelly denied an ace on the 16th when his tee shot horseshoed out of the hole.

Abraham Ancer thought he had blown his shot at his first PGA Tour win the first time he played the 18th hole on Sunday. Turns out he just needed two more chances on the hole to make it happen. 

Ancer birdied the second playoff hole from six feet and watched as Sam Burns missed almost the same putt to give him the WGC FedEx St. Jude Invitational title as the third man in the playoff, Hideki Matsuyama, also made par. 

After finishing as runner-up four times in his previous 120 Tour starts, Ancer finally prevailed in Memphis to become the ninth first-time winner this season and the fourth player from Mexico to win on Tour. 

"This is surreal," he told CBS. "I thought I left so many shots out there on the back nine, but you never know. Golf is crazy.

"There's been some times that I felt like I made enough birdies to win and I didn't win. This is kind of how it goes and I'm happy that I got lucky."

A significant portion of that luck came on the first playoff hole, when Matsuyama had a chance to win it but saw his long putt for birdie on 18 lip out, sending the trio back to the 18th tee for another go.

The 2021 Masters champion turned in the round of the day just to make the playoff, firing a bogey-free seven-under 63 to fly up the leaderboard on the final day. 

Burns was close behind with a 64, a double bogey on 13 his only blemish. 

Harris English, who held a two-stroke lead after each of the first three rounds, watched those three fly by him as he slumped to a three-over 73 and finished fourth after opening the tournament with rounds of 62, 65 and 65. 

English bogeyed the opening hole before regaining his stride with three birdies, but he did not make another after the eighth hole, posting double bogeys at 11 and 14 and a bogey at the par-five 16th. 

The American said afterward that a warning for slow play on the front nine knocked him out of rhythm and he felt like he was rushing the rest of the day.

His playing partner Bryson DeChambeau had an even more difficult time after working himself into contention with a 63 on Saturday. 

DeChambeau carded a triple-bogey six on the 11th and also did not manage a birdie on the back nine on the way to a 74 that left him tied for eighth at 12 under for the tournament. 

Rough as that triple was for DeChambeau, honours for worst hole of the day went to Kim Si-woo.

The South Korean hit five successive shots in the water at the 11th on the way to a 13 – the worst score on a par-three hole on the PGA Tour since 1983, not including majors.

Among other notables, Dustin Johnson (70) tied for 10th at 11 under, one stroke better than Rory McIlroy (66) and Jordan Spieth (67).

Phil Mickelson (68) finished at seven under along with Louis Oosthuizen, who floundered to a 74 in the final round. 

Sergio Garcia (72), Collin Morikawa (69) and defending champion Justin Thomas (72) were at five under, with Patrick Reed (70) and Lee Westwood (71) one back of them. 

Olympic champion Xander Schauffele (68) was at even par and Brooks Koepka (76) at two over. 

Xander Schauffele landed Olympic gold on the golf course for the United States after a dramatic final round saw Rory Sabbatini's 61 almost snatch top spot on the podium.

A terrific third shot at the 18th left Schauffele with a short putt for victory, after he found deep rough off the tee and could not go for the green in regulation.

He held his nerve to protect his one-shot advantage, finishing on 18 under par as Sabbatini took a spirited silver for Slovakia.

The battle for the bronze at Kasumigaseki Country Club went down to a seven-man play-off, with Chinese Taipei's world number 208 CT Pan landing the third-place medal and Hideki Matsuyama, Collin Morikawa and Rory McIlroy among those left disappointed.

By the time they reached the fourth extra hole it was down to a two-man battle between Open champion Morikawa and Pan, who had both posted closing 63s. Morikawa found sand with his second shot, the ball becoming plugged, and although he just about got it on the green, the putt he left went astray, leaving Pan to roll in an eight-footer for the medal.

Schauffele and Matsuyama were in Sunday's final group to start, just as they were at The Masters in April when Japan's newest golf star became his country's first men's major champion.

This time it was Schauffele's time to triumph, with the 27-year-old Las Vegas resident, who was born in San Diego, just about doing enough as a four-under 67 sealed the title.

And he could relax at last, the tension of the past hour all forgotten.


THIS ONE'S FOR DAD

Schauffele, whose mother was raised in Japan, was asked if it was his biggest career win and replied: "I'd like to say so, yeah."

His father, Stefan, has been with him in a coaching capacity this week, and Schauffele said: "I really wanted to win for my dad. I am sure he is crying somewhere right now. I kind of wanted this one more than any other.

"You are trying to represent your country to the best of your ability and then you add family stuff on top of that and I'm probably going to have a nice call with my grandparents tonight. I am sure they are back home, everyone is back home watching. I was feeling the love from San Diego and Las Vegas this whole time.

"I'm a little speechless right now, quite honestly."

 

Schauffele almost lost his ball when he drove into trees on the right side of the fairway on the par-five 14th, hitting a provisional ball in case there was no sign of the first.

That ball was soon located though, with Schauffele taking a penalty to bring it into a just-about playable position.

Matsuyama found the green in two but Schauffele was still short after four and was grateful to make six. Matsuyama went close with his eagle putt but had to settle for birdie, moving one shot behind Schauffele who slipped back to join Sabbatini on 17 under.

"It got a little dicey there," Schauffele later said. "When you are trying to win you need some things to go your way. I took a pretty big risk trying a hack-it-through-a-bush type shot and it missed my gap. I literally did the Matrix through these trees and it could have easily hit a tree and gone out. So, today was definitely my day."


HANGING TOUGH, DESPITE THE ROUGH

It was a hectic leaderboard all day long. Sabbatini had come from way back in the field thanks to his 10-under round and was waiting in the clubhouse to see what reward that would bring him.

Home favourite Matsuyama bogeyed the next to fall two back but gave himself a chance of birdie at the short next hole with a tee shot to around 10 feet, only to miss by a whisker.

Ireland's McIlroy was then two inches away from a birdie at the last that would have taken him to 16 under and secured bronze, yet he went into the play-off instead, as did Matsuyama.

Schauffele made birdie at 17 to edge in front on his own, and after the wretched tee shot at the last threatened to undo his gold medal mission, the American saved his best for last.

The third shot was almost right at the pin, finishing four feet away. Schauffele made no mistake, succeeding Justin Rose as Olympic champion, with the sport having returned to the Games programme in 2016 for the first time in 112 years.

The play-off also featured Chile's Mito Pereira, Great Britain's Paul Casey and Colombia's Sebastian Munoz, with Pan the unlikely figure to emerge with the bronze.

Hideki Matsuyama and Xander Schauffele battled it out for Masters glory and now they will go head to head in a scramble for Olympic gold on Sunday.

Japanese superstar Matsuyama trails American Schauffele by one shot going into the final round at Kasumigaseki Country Club, and they will join Paul Casey in the final group out.

A home triumph for Matsuyama at the Tokyo Games would be an extremely popular result in Japan, but the top 10 are separated by only four strokes, so medals remain firmly in the sights of a host of players.


AS AUGUST ARRIVES, AN AUGUSTA REPEAT

Almost four months have gone by since Matsuyama became the first Japanese man to win a major, when he edged home at Augusta National on a tense final day.

He partnered Schauffele for the final two rounds at the Georgia course, and the same thing has played out this week, with the August 1 finale to the golf event sure to make for absorbing sporting theatre.

The big-name front-runners also had Mexican Carlos Ortiz for company on Saturday, but it was Schauffele who stayed at the head of the pack after following Friday's 63 with a hard-fought 68 to reach 14 under, with Matsuyama on 13 under after a 67, having completed a second-round of 64 earlier in the day.

Schauffele "hung tough", the American said, relying on solid putting to dig him out of trouble as he struggled with his long game.

It was Matsuyama who led going into the final round at The Masters in April, when he held a four-shot cushion but ended up winning by only one after a 73. Schauffele's hopes disappeared when he found water and made six at the par-three 16th that day.

Despite the gold medal being a tantalising target, Schauffele said Saturday had been a routine day on the course.

"Tomorrow may feel a little different," he said. "There's a little bit more on the line than what we normally play for and you're trying to represent your country to the best of your ability."

He was impressed by Matsuyama, who is playing his first event since testing positive for COVID-19, which forced him to miss the Open Championship.

"He seems to be fine," Schauffele said. "Teeing up, he seems strong, he seems normal and he seems himself. Luckily he wasn't hit too hard by it.

"He was firing on a lot of cylinders when he won the Masters. He's maybe not in his realm of perfection, hitting it as well as he'd want to, but he's one back.

"Hideki's a great player, our current Masters champion. I plan on wearing that [green] jacket some day as well. I assume we'll be playing in more final groups for years to come."


JAPAN EXPECTS, CAN HIDEKI DELIVER?

After the blow of Naomi Osaka losing early in the women's tennis, her fellow global superstar is coming good on the golf course.

Matsuyama has been surprised by his recovery from COVID and would love a medal from Tokyo's Games, expressing obvious pleasure at being in the mix so soon after being ill.

"I definitely could not have believed that," he said. "The endurance part of my game has been struggling a little bit, but thankfully it's held up in the last few days. Hopefully it will hold up tomorrow as well."

The host nation awaits a home golfing champion, and Matsuyama is up for the challenge of taking on Schauffele and the chasing pack.

He was asked how the Olympic experience compares to the pursuit of a major.

"There's not much difference to it, but in the Olympics the fact is that third place is still celebrated, as well as second, so there's a nice thing waiting for you even if you get third place," Matsuyama said.

"At a major championship, only the winner will be celebrated. I'm not sure tomorrow what my motivation will be, but I'm going to focus on playing good golf.

"I played with Xander in the third and fourth day together at The Masters. I'm sure Xander will come out determined to win the gold medal, so hopefully on my end too I'm going to come out strong on the mental side."


HOW LOW CAN THEY GO?

If Schauffele and Matsuyama are both to be overtaken on Sunday, it may take a score in the low 60s to snatch away gold.

Tommy Fleetwood showed that is possible with a 64 in the third round, as the Great Britain player climbed to a share of ninth on 10 under, alongside Ireland's Shane Lowry.

His team-mate Casey sits alongside Ortiz on 12 under, tied for third, with four players sharing fifth spot: Ireland's Rory McIlroy, Colombian Sebastian Munoz, Mito Pereira of Chile and Austrian Sepp Straka.

McIlroy said:"I've got a great chance going into tomorrow. It's a bit of a packed leaderboard so all to play for.

"It's going to be brilliant. A lot of us are trying to do something that none of us have ever done before.

"There's a lot of us that are going to be going through experiences that we've not experienced."

Japan's great golf hope Hideki Matsuyama has revealed he feared he would miss the Tokyo Olympics when he tested positive for COVID-19.

The Masters champion pulled out before the second round of the Rocket Mortgage Classic in Detroit on July 2, and the 29-year-old has not played competitive golf since, missing out on the Open Championship.

He has also not had a top-20 finish since landing green jacket glory at Augusta National in April, slightly dampening hopes of a home gold medallist at the Kasumigaseki Country Club, where the men's tournament begins on Thursday.

Matsuyama hopes a strong mental approach can stand him in good stead as he returns to a course that holds fond memories for the 29-year-old.

It is where he won the 2010 Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship, securing him a first ticket to The Masters and serving as a springboard for his professional career.

"To be able to represent Japan and play in my home country and a home Olympics, this is probably the first and last time I'll be able to do that," Matsuyama said in a news conference on Tuesday.

"Three weeks ago I got tested positive for COVID-19 and wasn't really sure I'd be able to make it to this stage here. Now I'm here and I'm very happy to be able to be here.

"I tested positive for COVID for about 10 days in duration. During that time I was unable to practise, but once I got back to Japan I started practising.

"Hopefully I'll be able to be in the best form possible for the event this week."

Matsuyama said he was "very happy" to test negative ahead of the Olympics, and the significance of the venue is not lost on him.

"In a way, Kasumigaseki has been the place and catalyst for me to progress and grow," he said. "Hopefully I can do the same this week and move on to another level. 

"Since my Masters win, I haven't had the best results so far this summer, so I'm a little bit nervous, but I'm really looking forward to it. I think it's going to be fun and I'm going to try my best to do well.

"I'm going to try to overcome any physical deficit with the mental side."

With his golf commitments, Matsuyama said he had found little time to watch fellow Japanese competitors from other sports in the Games, although he has been keeping tabs on their success in the medals table, with the hosts challenging near the top.

"Hopefully I can follow their footsteps and be in a position to win a medal as well," he said.

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