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Red-hot Matsuyama not satisfied with second

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HONOLULU – Success is a relative measurement for Hideki Matsuyama. Last week’s runner-up showing at the SBS Tournament of Champions, for example, would count as a solid start to the year for most.

Not Matsuyama.

“Hitting fairways and greens last week was easy enough. But I'm not hitting it just as well as I would like, ball-strike-wise,” he said when asked the status of his game.

It’s not as though his near miss in Maui was a complete failure, but relative to Matsuyama’s record the last few months his mindset is, as Tiger Woods once opined, second sucks.

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Matsuyama has won four of his last six worldwide starts, a run that began at the Japan Open in October, and was second in his other two events (both times to Justin Thomas).

Although he said on Wednesday at the Sony Open he sees plenty of room for improvement in his game, he did concede that the last few months have had an impact on his psyche.

“Confidence is a huge part of golf, and to be able to play well, you have to have confidence, and I've had that the last couple months,” he said. “Hopefully I can continue. That will be the key going forward.”