Hideki Matsuyama got off to a strong start at the BMW Championship on Thursday in Chicago. Can he end his winless streak this week?
The 2020 season has not been the best for Hideki Matsuyama. But for one day, Thursday, at the BMW Championship, Matsuyama looked like his old self, playing a tough Olympia Fields track that yielded only three scores under par among the 69 golfers who started.
Matsuyama leads the way at 3-under par, riding a very good front nine into the lead. He has a one-shot advantage over Tyler Duncan and a two-shot lead over Mackenzie Hughes. There are 10 players three shots back, all at even par.
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While it seems like he has been playing on the PGA Tour for a long time, Matsuyama is still just 28 years old. And he still has quite a bit of game, as he showed in Thursday’s first round.
The day started poorly for Matsuyama. Playing the back nine first, he bogeyed the 10th hole. However, he immediately bounced back with a birdie on the 11th hole to get back to even.
Matsuyama then bogeyed the 12th hole after finding the rough off the tee, slipping back to 1-over on his round. Then on the 13th hole, he finally made his first par of the day.
On the par-4 14th hole, Matsuymam stuck his second shot about six feet from the hole and made the putt to climb back to even par again. After three straight pars, Matsuyama bogeyed the tough 18th hole to finish his front nine at 1-over.
On his second nine, Matsuyama started by hitting the par-5 first hole in two and two putting for a birdie. On the second hole, he hit his second shot on the par four to about 11 feet, then made the putt, getting to 1-under on his round.
From there, Matsuyama had four consecutive pars before he hit pay dirt again on the seventh hole. There, he hit his second shot to about 22 feet, but he rolled in the long-range birdie putt to get to 2-under on his round.
Matsuyama would par the par-3 eighth hole before making a birdie on the ninth. He would finish the front nine with a 31 and a 3-under par round of 67.
The super-talented Matsuyama has yet to win on tour this season. But the toughness he showed in Thursday’s round, in tough conditions, may mean that his winless streak, one that dates to 2017, could end this week in Chicago.