Defending Champ Matsuyama Fired -8 at Memorial
Hideki Matsuyama isn’t about to give up the title at The Memorial Tournament presented by Nationwide easily.
No player has won back-to-back titles here since Tiger Woods did so in 2000 and 2001.
Matsuyama was 4-under through eight holes, then knocked down five birdies in six holes, including four in a row between 11 and 14.
He’s tied for the lead with the US’ Bo Van Pelt, who made five straight birdies between No. 5 and No. 9, bogeyed No. 10, then birdied four of the next five. He missed a chance to have the lead outright when he bogeyed No. 17.
The pair have a two-stroke lead on Jason Dufner, off to his best start at a tournament since his divorced was announced two months ago, and Scotland’s Russell Knox.
World No. 2 Jordan Spieth is tied for 12th with a 4-under 68. He had just one blemish on the round a bogey on No. 7.
Some of the more famous names in the field were considerably down the leader board. Dustin Johnson, Phil Mickelson, and Rickie Fowler are all tied for 68th with even-par 72s.
Mickelson was at 2-under before double-bogeying the par-4 No. 18. Johnson has five birdies, but double-bogeyed No. 9 and had bogeys on Nos. 6 and 11.
The aforementioned Woods shot a 1-over 73 to sit tied for 85th. He was good early, awful late. He played the front nine 3-under, then bogeyed 10, 11, and 13 to start the back nine. He pulled out of that with birdies on 14 and 16, but was 3-over on the last two holes.