NASSAU, Bahamas – Perhaps already the hottest player entering this week’s Hero World Challenge, Hideki Matsuyama is on the cusp of adding yet another trophy to his rapidly-growing collection.
Matsuyama fired a seven-under 65 in the third round at Albany Golf Club to turn a 36-hole co-lead with Dustin Johnson into a whopping seven-shot cushion over Johnson and Henrik Stenson entering the final round. His round featured several highlights, but none bigger than at the short par-4 seventh, where he had a slam-dunk eagle from close range with a wedge that put him 5 under on the round.
“I played well today,” Matsuyama said. “Glad to get the score in that I did. The eagle on No. 7 was huge.”
Matsuyama has now made 20 birdies and two eagles through 54 holes, and he credits a recent putting tip he received from fellow Japanese pro Hiroshi Iwata as a big reason for his performance on the greens.
“Since then, it’s kind of fallen into place and improving each week,” he said. “This week, though, I’m not putting my best, but there’s a lot of 18-20-footers that are finding the hole and that’s really helped out.”
Matsuyama won last month at the WGC-HSBC Champions, and his last four worldwide starts include three wins and a runner-up at the CIMB Classic. That total now seems headed to four wins out of five, as the No. 6-ranked golfer in the world continues to show that no one can match his pace as 2016 draws to a close.
“I really can’t think about the lead because there’s – I mean, everyone in the field can shoot 8-9 under,” he said. “So I just have to keep my head down, keep grinding and do the best I can.”