KUALA LUMPUR – Hideki Matsuyama shot an 8-under 64 and moved into a share of third at the CIMB Classic on Friday, three strokes behind American leader and last year’s winner Justin Thomas.
Matsuyama, who started the day in 16th, carded an eagle on the fifth hole and added six birdies in a bogeyless round at the par-72 TPC Kuala Lumpur, finishing with a two-round total of 11-under.
Compatriot Ryo Ishikawa is four strokes behind Matsuyama in 15th, moving up a place after carding six birdies and two bogeys.
“I was aiming for somewhere around 10-under so that was good,” said Matsuyama, who had three birdies in the last four holes. “I hit the green well (on No. 5) and my putt fell nicely, too.
“Things are going well despite making some mistakes. I haven’t built my confidence yet.”
After playing the second round with four-time major winner, Ernie Els, Matsuyama said, “I want to be a player like him,” while Els sung the Japanese player’s praises, telling him: “You can win a major.”
Ishikawa had four birdies on the front nine before saving par on the par-5 10th despite spraying his drive onto the ninth. He then bogeyed 12 and 13 before snapping the slide with birdies on the next two holes.
But despite his good recovery, Ishikawa was not happy with his overall play.
“It’s not really good. My feel is all over the place,” Ishikawa said. “The course designer must be surprised with the way I played 10.
“I’m still figuring out how I can get better feel. I’m not concerned with my putts as I’m hitting them well.”