Matsuyama feels pressure as he eyes major for Japan


CHARLOTTE, North Carolina (Reuters) - Hideki Matsuyama has broad shoulders but is not finding it easy to carry the weight of an entire nation as he seeks to become the first Japanese man to win a major.

Matsuyama started the third round of the PGA Championship tied for the lead with Kevin Kisner but never got into gear, a bogey at the first setting the table for a pedestrian one-over-par 72.

That was still good enough to remain in contention, a stroke behind Kisner, who dropped three shots in the final three holes.

"Probably the pressure had something to do with it, being in the last group in a major tournament," said Matsuyama.

"But I haven't been spot-on all week, and the worries I had about my swing showed up today in the way I played.

"I'm disappointed the way I played today, however I'm happy to be one stroke back and still have a chance and looking forward to tomorrow."

Matsuyama is coming off a closing 61 that clinched a runaway victory at last week's WGC-Bridgestone Invitational. He said at the time he had shot the stunning score despite being uncomfortable with his swing, words he repeated pre-tournament here.

Despite his struggles, the 25-year-old played the difficult final three holes better than his rivals, parring them all to finish the day much closer than he expected an hour previously.

(Editing by Peter Rutherford)

What to Read Next