Halfway Hut at the ZOZO CHAMPIONSHIP: Hideki Matsuyama stays on course for home win

A round-up of the best stats, quotes and social after 36 holes at Narashino Country Club where the local hero holds a one-shot lead.

Going into this week's ZOZO CHAMPIONSHIP in Japan, three players dominated the betting.

Xander Schauffele and Collin Morikawa were vying for favouritism at 7/1 while local star Hideki Matsuyama was quoted at 12/1. No-one else was under 20s.

Many predicted that class would tell and the top trio would be fighting it out among themselves for the title.

However, halfway through the tournament at Narashino Country Club their fortunes are noticeably contrasting.

Matsuyama (-8) holds a one-shot lead over American Cameron Tringale after rounds of 64 and 68 while Schauffele (+4) is 12 strokes back in tied 58th.

Morikawa (-1) is somewhere in the middle: tied 20th but needing a big charge on the weekend to catch the leaders.

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Friday's second round at the 7,041-yard par 70 was played in cold temperatures and rain, with the ball hardly flying anywhere.

Some adjusted to the conditions but others found it a grind and lost the battle.

First-round leader Hiroshi Iwata was a prime example. He'd set the pace with a 63 on Thursday but shot 10 shots higher on day two.

By contrast, Branden Grace came up with the only bogey-free round of the day, a battling 4-under 66 lifting him 38 spots up the leaderboard to tied 14th on 2-under.

Here are the best stats, quotes and social from Narashino Country Club after 36 holes.

Click here for the leaderboard

Stats and facts

Matsuyama ranked 1st in Greens in Regulation (16/18) in both the first and second rounds.

Hideki Matsuyama sets the pace after 36 holes
Hideki Matsuyama sets the pace after 36 holes

This is Matsuyama's fourth 36-hole lead on the PGA Tour. He's converted one (2016 WGC-HSBC Champions) and finished third and fifth in the other two.

Matsuyama has made just a single bogey over the first two days.

The last time Tringale was in the top two after 36 holes, he went on to finish tied sixth at the 2017 Barbasol Championship.

Tommy Fleetwood (-5), who qualified for the event via sponsor exemption, ranks T2 in total putts.

Quotes

Hideki Matsuyama (-8, 68)

"It wasn't a perfect round, but I played well. I'm happy with it.

"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 do my best."

Cameron Tringale (-7, 66)

"Well, it was cold on the first hole and rainy on the last hole, but I produced a steady round of golf really. I kept it in front of me, I hit a lot of good iron shots.

"The course played really long in this cold weather and being so wet. Just made some nice swings with my irons and kind of left myself in the right positions on these greens and was able to make a few putts. That was the day."

Matt Wallace (-6, 69)

"Very pleased. It was a tough day, difficult. We're hitting some drivers, especially on the 10th, you think you can hit it 260 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."

"I love Japan. First time here. Even though we can't go out of the hotel or do most of the things that we would like to do, it's been great. The people are so polite, so nice, amazing fans."

Brendan Steele (-6, 68)

"This was a day that I've been concerned about for quite a while. I'm from California, I do not play in the rain. When it rains, I stay inside.

"My game doesn't usually translate that well to the weather, but I was feeling good about my game yesterday and I was just happy to hold it together today."

Joaquin Niemann (-5, 71)

"It was freezing, couldn't feel my hands and I managed to have a good round, so I'm happy.

"I putted pretty good. Made some good putts. I think my putter just gave me some real confidence."

Social

Hideki from the trees, Matt's hot finish, Tringale signs off in style

Matsuyama finds a way through

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Wallace makes a late move

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Cam's closing birdie

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READ MORE: Spotlight on: Rickie Fowler in the ZOZO CHAMPIONSHIP

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