Hideki Matsuyama completed his second round of the PGA Championship with a 7-under 64, the lowest round of the tournament, to tie Kevin Kisner for the lead.
Matsuyama played his round on Friday bogey-free, and closed the back nine with birdies in five of his last seven holes. For the week, Matsuyama has tallied 13 birdies with only four bogeys after shooting 70 in Round 1.
The Japanese-born pro has been regarded as one of the top ball strikers on tour, but it’s his putter that has gotten red-hot this week. Matsuyama ranks first at Quail Hollow in strokes gained putting, thanks in large part to his approach game which has given him makeable putts inside 10 feet.
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Coming off his victory last week at the WGC Bridgestone Invitational, Matsuyama has been dialed since his final round 61 to clinch the win. In fact, Matsuyama has carded only two rounds above 70 dating back to The Open last month.
If Matsuyama is able to capture his first major title this weekend, he’ll become the first golfer to win back-to-back tournaments since Justin Thomas did so in January. Matsuyama could also accomplish what Rory McIlroy did in 2014 – winning the Firestone and PGA Championship in consecutive weeks.
Matsuyama could also accomplish something historic for his country: No Japanese golfer has ever won a major championship. He has received his chances – top six finishes in all four tournaments – but this weekend may very well be his breakthrough moment.
According to Golf Channel, since 2000, only two players have shot a bogey-free 64 or better in the PGA Championship, and they both went on to hoist the trophy.
The aforementioned Kisner shot 67-67 in his two rounds to also sit at 8-under. Twenty-two players finished Round 2 at even par or better, including former PGA Tournament champion Jason Day (-6) and 2017 U.S. Open winner Brooks Koepka (-1).