Thanks to hot putter, Iwata just one back


American golf fans are likely unfamiliar with Hiroshi Iwata. Heck, Graeme McDowell is unfamilar with him. 

But thanks to a round of 4-under 68 on Saturday, featuring three birdies on the back nine, Iwata finds himself just one stroke behind McDowell and playing with him in the final group of the WGC-HSBC Champions come Sunday.

Per the Associated Press: "McDowell had never heard of [Iwata] until this week, and only saw him swing the club once in the group ahead. He referred to him as one of the 'great young players' from Japan, unaware that he was 33 and in his 10th full season on the Japan Golf Tour."

Iwata - 127th in the Official World Golf Ranking, immediately ahead of Nicolas Colsaerts and Camilo Villegas - has been a member of the Japan Golf Tour since 2004, but it took a full decade for him to finally claim his first victory, the Fujisankei Classic back in September. 

He's contending this week amongst the likes of Martin Kaymer, Bubba Watson, Rickie Fowler and Ian Poulter - all of whom sit within four shots of the lead - thanks to a red-hot putter. Iwata is third in the field in putts per green in regulation.

That figure has no doubt been aided by these two unlikely birdie putts - at the 4th and 18th holes on Saturday - when simple lags would have been more than sufficient.