Hideki Matsuyama hoping for more Sunday magic at PGA Championship

Hideki Matsuyama 2017 PGA Championship Round 3 Kyle Terada/USA TODAY Sports

Hideki Matsuyama hoping for more Sunday magic at PGA Championship

PGA Tour

Hideki Matsuyama hoping for more Sunday magic at PGA Championship

CHARLOTTE – Hideki Matsuyama was wondering if he’d be nervous with a share of the lead after 36 holes at the 99th PGA Championship Quail Hollow and now he has his answer.

“Probably the pressure had something to do with it, being in the last group of a major tournament” Matsuyama said of a 2-over 73 Saturday. “But I haven’t been spot-on all week. And the worries that I had about my swing showed up today in the way I played.”

In serious contention at a major for the first time, Matsuyama is T-2 and one shot behind leader Kevin Kisner at 6 under entering Sunday’s final round. He had back-to-back bogeys at 12 and 13 but finished strong with five straight pars. He did well with par at 18, toughest hole of the day, as playing partner Jason Day made quadruple-bogey 8 and Kisner dropped a shot with a bogey 5.

“That is a really difficult hole,” Matsuyama said. “I mean, you can end up hitting right like Jason did today and then there is water on the left. So, it’s tough all the way around.”

The 25-year-old from Japan was even on the front nine with one birdie and one bogey but failed to take advantage of opportunities on the back with pars at both par-5s. He’ll likely need to do better in order to top Kisner or hold off contenders like Chris Stroud (-6), Justin Thomas (-6) and Louis Oosthuizen.

We know Matsuyama is capable of running away from the field on Sunday, as he did with a final-round 61 to win the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational last week at Firestone. Now would be a good time for an encore.

“I’m disappointed the way I played today,” Matsuyama said. “However, I’m happy just to be one stroke back and still have a chance. (I’m) looking forward to tomorrow.”

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