CHARLOTTE, North Carolina – Hideki Matsuyama has surged into a tie for the lead at the PGA Championship at 8-under and is in a strong position to become the first Japanese man to win a golf major ahead of weekend play.
The world’s third-ranked player went on a tear on the back nine on Friday to earn a share of the lead with American Kevin Kisner, carding five of his seven birdies over a six-hole stretch from the 12th to the 17th holes.
Long known as one of golf’s greatest ball-strikers, Matsuyama becomes lethal when he gets it going with the putter – as he did on Friday in shooting a 7-under 64.
If he can win the tournament, he would become just the second Asian-born man to win a golf major after South Korea’s Yang Yong-eun, who captured the 2009 PGA Championship.
Matsuyama has the big edge in driving distance over Kisner, but the American has shown with two consecutive 4-under 67 rounds that he has the game to play the Quail Hollow Club course in Charlotte.
Also lurking close behind the leaders is the winner of the 2015 PGA Championship, seventh-ranked Australian Jason Day, who is at 6-under after firing a 5-under 66 on Friday.
Day is tied with American Chris Stroud, who was one of several players forced to finish his second round early Saturday.