Most years, Hideki Matsuyama would have turned into an odds-on favorite for any tournament he entered. With three wins and as many runner-up finishes on the year, Matsuyama has had Player of the Year potential. However, falling short in majors will likely be the difference maker when that honor is presented.
While that particular title is all but gone for Matsuyama, one isn’t – the FedEx Cup season title. The 25-year-old is still ranked third in the world and fourth in the season points race. He has a 127-point cushion over Jon Rahm for fifth place heading into East Lake, and while his spot is nowhere near guaranteed, you have to believe that Matsuyama has prepared for this over the bye week.
That extra motivation is always a good thing, but for Matsuyama, this is just the fruit of his year-long labor. Ranked third on TOUR in birdie-or-better percentage and fifth in adjusted scoring, there are few tracks that Matsuyama hasn’t been able to adapt to and perform.
Conway Farms is near the top of that list. In his first crack at this course, Matsuyama finished tied for seventh place at 13-under, highlighted by a sparkling second-round 63.
Matsuyama has grown dramatically in his fourth full year on the PGA TOUR. As he cements his place among the sport’s elite ranks, look for Matsuyama to continue his aggressive play and lock in his position heading to the TOUR Championship.