CHARLOTTE, N.C. – It seems nothing can stop Hideki Matsuyama these days.
Not Quail Hollow’s tricky greens. Not an uncooperative driver. And certainly not a 1-hour, 43-minute rain delay.
The red-hot Matsuyama continued to roll Friday with a 7-under 64 to vault into a share of the lead at the 99th PGA Championship. He is at 8-under 134, tied with Kevin Kisner.
Last Sunday, the 25-year-old Japanese star fired the best round of his career, a 9-under 61 to win the Bridgestone Invitational, his second WGC title and third victory overall this season.
After an opening 70 at Quail Hollow, Matsuyama turned in 2 under and then ripped off two more birdies before play was suspended because of inclement weather.
Most thought the delay would have bothered Matsuyama – after all, it stopped his run of birdies. Not so.
“I was grateful for the rain delay because I was getting tired,” he said through his translator. “I was able to lay down in the locker room and get some rest.”
He was tired on the back nine?
“I think what was making me tired was I wasn’t hitting my driver like I wanted to,” he said. “I was hitting fairways, but I wasn’t getting the crisp contact that I was hoping for with my driver.”
When play resumed, Matsuyama picked up where he left off, recording two more birdies before flagging his approach into 17 for another birdie. His iron play was so dialed in Friday, he made only two putts longer than 8 feet.
This is the first time that Matsuyama has held at least a share of the 36-hole lead at a major.
“Being a new experience, maybe I’ll be a little nervous,” he said. “But on the other hand, I’m looking forward to the weekend and seeing how I do.”