England’s Matt Wallace produced a brilliant finish to remain firmly in contention for his first PGA Tour title in the ZOZO Championship.
Wallace was two over par for his first 15 holes at Narashino Country Club but birdied the 16th, 17th and 18th to add a 69 to his opening 65 and lie two shots off the lead held by home favourite and Masters champion Hideki Matsuyama.
“I’m very pleased,” Wallace said. “It was a tough day.
“We’re hitting some drivers, especially on the 10th… you think you can hit it 260 (yards) but it goes 240 and you’d never think that after a good strike, so it was difficult to gauge how far the ball was going to go.
“It was cold, wet, greens are soft and a bit slower. It was just a tough day, but the finish was really important and it was nice.
“My putting hasn’t been quite on, but I went and did some work with my coach last week and starting to see the ball roll how I want to, so I’ve holed a couple of good putts. I’ve missed a few, but I’ve holed a couple of good ones.
“I need to get my swing sorted, I haven’t hit it as well as I have done two weeks ago, so if I’m going to put it together we’ll be there come Sunday.”
Matsuyama carded three birdies and one bogey in his 68 to post a halfway total of eight under par, one shot ahead of American Cameron Tringale.
Wallace shares third place on six under with Brendan Steele, with Tommy Fleetwood and Chile’s Joaquin Niemann a shot further back.
“It wasn’t a perfect round, but I played well – I’m happy with it,” Matsuyama said. “It’s not often that we play in rain and cold at the same time, but I’m happy with the round and it was a good day.
“I’m in a good position. Looking forward to the weekend and (will) do my best.”