Oct 28, 2016: Japan’s Hideki Matsuyama put Asia at the forefront of the World Golf Championship after firing a seven-under-par 65 to snatch the second round lead at the WGC-HSBC Champions on Friday.
The 24-year-old has never enjoyed a good outing at the Sheshan International Golf Club.
But all that seemed to change after he followed up his opening 66 with a 65 to sit comfortably atop the leaderboard with his two-day total of 13-under-par 131.
“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. But he recovered quickly with two successive birdies from the second hole before adding another pair on holes seven and eight.
The Japanese, who broke into the top-10 on the Official World Golf Ranking this week, then went on a birdie blitz in his back-nine with five birdies for an inward-31.
“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.
China’s Zhang Xin-jun brought out the local cheers as he moved into a share of seventh place following a 69.
Zhang, who is aiming to become the first Chinese to win the WGC-HSBC Champions on home soil, credited the presence of his family members, both inside and outside of the ropes for a promising charge after 36 holes.
“It’s really good to see my family members out on the golf course supporting me this week. My brother’s also carrying my bag and that helps. He knows my playing style and we work well together as a team,” said Zhang.
Thailand’s Thongchai Jaidee could not improve on his opening day’s efforts as he struggled to a 73 under windy and cold conditions to end the day tied for 28th.
“It was freezing out there and the conditions were just tough. It was difficult to get the ball close to the hole today,” said Thongchai.
The Thai however refused to dismiss his chances at the year’s final World Golf Championship and is ready to put up a fight befitting of his status as a three-time Asian Tour Order of Merit champion.
“You never know as anything can happen in golf. I’ll try my best and maybe miracles can happen,” said Thongchai.
Asian Tour Release