For the third consecutive start, Hideki Matsuyama has opened a PGA Tour event by shooting 6 under par. He would like the next three rounds to not follow his recent trend.
Matsuyama shot 6-under 64 in the first round of the Zozo Championship in Chiba, Japan. He trails compatriot Hiroshi Iwata by one shot.
It was a clean scorecard for the Masters champion, who recorded six birdies and no bogeys at Accordia Golf Narashino Country Club. Now comes the task of carrying on that performance over the next 54 holes.
Competing the last two weeks in Las Vegas, Nevada, Matsuyama shot 6-under 66 in Round 1 of the Shriners Children’s Open and ultimately tied for 59th. At the CJ Cup, he opened in 6-under 65 and failed to break 70 the remainder of the way, tying for 67th.
“I just hope I can keep the momentum going for the rest of the week this time,” he said Thursday.
Matsuyama's tone changed slightly from Wednesday, when he rated his current game a 1, on a scale of 1 to 10.
"Ball striking, putting, chipping, all of these have not reached the level I want," he said prior to the start of the event. "If my game scored 10 out of 10 at the Masters, now I would say it scores less than 1. I will be struggling this week, but I am here in Japan so I am motivated to be in contention."
This is Matsuyama’s first event in his home country since the Olympics, where he lost in a seven-man playoff for the bronze medal. While there were no fans on site that week, they have been allowed to attend the Zozo.
“We play in front of a lot of fans on the PGA Tour stateside,” Matsuyama said, “but to be able to play in my home country in front of so many Japanese fans, it was a thrill and I'm glad I played well today.”