After registering top-25 finishes in each of his first two WGC-Bridgestone Invitational starts, Matsuyama hasn’t cracked the top 30 in either of his last two appearances. If he can just get through Friday’s second round unscathed, however, he should be ready to get back to the top of the game.
In 2015 and 2016 alike, Matsuyama struggled with “blow-up” rounds. Two years ago, Matsuyama shot five-over 75 on Friday, then followed it up with a Saturday 73, working his way to seven-over before a Sunday 66 bailed him out.
In 2016, Matsuyama put himself in even worse position, going +12 for that same stretch, but proved unable to work himself back into contention. Still, those events are in the past, and this week brings new opportunities and new challenges.
This year is undoubtedly the best of Matsuyama’s young career thus far. Two wins are always impressive, but I’m thinking more about what could have been with three runner-up showings.
Like so many other players at the top of this list, Matsuyama’s successes come in large part from ball striking. He reaches a ton of greens in regulation, and with his power from the tee, even with average putting, Matsuyama should be able to translate that into more success at Firestone Country Club.