Hideki Matsuyama has not missed the Tour Championship since his first full year on the PGA Tour. He played Friday like he doesn’t want the streak to end.
Outside the top 30 in the FedEx Cup for the first time at the BMW Championship, Matsuyama made five birdie putts from 15 feet or longer and broke the course record at Medinah, Ill., with a 9-under 63-par for a one-shot lead going into the weekend.
He started his second round with a 30-foot birdie putt. He ended the round with a 30-foot birdie putt.
The explanation for what went right wasn’t that long.
“I did make a lot of long putts today, and that was the difference,” Matsuyama said through his interpreter.
That was a big difference for Tiger Woods, too. He made only two putts longer than 6 feet, made two bogeys from the bunkers late in the round and had to settle for another 71. Woods, who needs a top-10 finish to advance to the Tour Championship, was tied for 49th.
“I left quite a few shots out there,” Woods said.
Matsuyama was at 12-under 132, one shot ahead of Patrick Cantlay (67) and Tony Finau (66). Justin Thomas made six birdies to offset three bogeys in his round of 69, leaving him two shots behind.
Cantlay, Finau and Thomas are all assured of being among the top 30 who advance to the Tour Championship next week, where everyone in the field will have a shot at winning the FedEx Cup and the $15 million prize.
Matsuyama won four times on the Japan Golf Tour as a rookie after he graduated college, and then won the Memorial in 2014 and narrowly got into the FedEx Cup finale at East Lake in Atlanta. He was as high as No. 2 in the world just two years ago after the U.S. Open.
But he has gone two years without winning, and Friday was the first time he has led after any round since his most recent victory at Firestone in the Bridgestone Invitational.
Lucas Glover (69) and Rory Sabbatini (68) were among the group at 9-under 135, both suddenly in range of the top 30.
U.S. Amateur: Cohen Trolio, 17, advanced to the semifinals in Pinehurst, N.C., by beating Austin Squires 3 and 1.
Trolio, a high school junior from West Point, Miss., won the final three holes of the match — Nos. 15-17 at Pinehurst No. 2 — to end the 64th-seeded Squires’ run.
Trolio will face Georgia Tech’s Andy Ogletree on Saturday, with Vanderbilt’s John Augenstein taking on Sam Houston State’s William Holcomb V in the other semifinal. The winners meet in a 36-hole final Sunday.
Ogletree beat Spencer Ralston 6 and 5 to advance to the semifinals for the first time. Augenstein had a 3-and-2 victory over Pennsylvania teenager Palmer Jackson. Holcomb claimed a 4-and-3 win over Australian teen Karl Vilips, who has made a verbal commitment to Stanford.
PGA Tour Champions: Miguel Angel Jimenez birdied three of the final six holes for a 7-under 65 and a share of the first-round lead with Monday qualifier Doug Barron in the Dick’s Sporting Goods Open in Endicott, N.Y.
European Tour: Edoardo Molinari shot his second straight 6-under 66 for a two-shot lead over Thomas Pieters at 12-under 132 after two rounds of the Czech Masters in Vysoky Ujezd.
This post was originally posted at https://www.sfgate.com/sports/golf/article/Hideki-Matsuyama-blisters-Medinah-with-63-for-BMW-14339631.php.