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Matsuyama gets off to abysmal start in PGA playoffs

Kyodo

PGA Tour points leader Hideki Matsuyama struggled to a 4-over-par 74 in Thursday’s first round of the Northern Trust, leaving him in a tie for 102nd place.

The Japanese golf star, who cut short his practice for the first of four PGA Tour playoff tournaments due to a sore hip, carded four bogeys but no birdies on the par 70 Glen Oaks Club course. He finished 10 strokes back of the leader, American Russell Henley.

“There was not a single good thing about this,” said Matsuyama, who entered the tournament with 2,869 points in the FedExCup standings, a 180-point lead.

First place at the Northern Trust and the following two events, the Dell Technologies Championship and the BMW Championship, will be worth 2,000 points, with 1,200 going to the runner-up and 760 to third place.

Matsuyama’s points total is testimony to his consistent play this season. Having missed only one cut in his 18 tournaments, February’s Genesis Open, Matsuyama’s lack of precision Thursday was a shock. His tee shots found the fairway just seven times, and he needed 33 putts to put the round out of its misery.

“Overall, nothing came together,” he said. “I have no idea why.”

The top 125 players in the standings are eligible to play here, although the field will be narrowed to 100 in the next playoff event and 70 in the third.

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