NORTON, MASSACHUSETTS – With his Dell Technologies Championship title hopes long gone, Hideki Matsuyama is looking ahead in hopes his FedEx Playoffs chances do not go the same way.
Sitting in equal 36th after a 1-under 70 in Sunday’s third tour of TPC Boston, the Japanese has lost sight of tournament front-runners Justin Thomas of the United States and Marc Lieshman of Australia, who both lead the way at 12-under.
Paul Casey (11-under), Jordan Spieth (10-under) and Dustin Johnson (9-under) headline the chase pack.
Matsuyama’s Sunday 70, his first round under par at the second FedEx Cup Playoff tournament, featured three birdies and two bogeys, but despite the lack of scoring he began to see his game come around after a couple of lean weeks.
“Both my short and long game started getting better this round,” said Matsuyama, who upped his driving accuracy percentage and maintained his good approach play on Sunday.
“I have to go as high as I can (in the points ranking) and pile up as many points as possible. If I make my short putts I can expect a good score.”
Matsuyama’s problem is not that he could drop out of the top-30 ranked players who qualify for the tour final, it is that all his closest challengers are in the kind of form he, at the moment, is searching for.
With three wins and seven top-10s, Matsuyama came into the playoffs atop the FedEx Cup standings, but on Saturday he admitted lacking feel in his game, and said he cannot see how he can get it back.
“If it does (come back), I think I can make a run at it, but it hasn’t,” he said.
Luckily for Matsuyama, his early-season play means he has enough points to get him to the season finale. But with fellow points leaders Johnson, Spieth and Thomas looking like world-beaters he needs a quick form reversal to challenge for the Tour Championship title at East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta in late September.
Matsuyama can only return to the course in hopes of getting his season back on track. “I’ll try and get there tomorrow,” he said.
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