Hideki Matsuyama arrived at the HSBC Champions as the first Japanese player in nearly two decades to reach the top 10 in the world ranking. His 19 birdies over 36 holes in biting chill and swirling wind helped explain how he got there.
Even as the weather shifted dramatically Friday at Sheshan International, Matsuyama kept piling up the birdies. One last birdie on the par-5 18th gave him a 7-under 65 and a three-shot lead going into the weekend of the final World Golf Championships event of the year.
"He is playing very well," said Rory McIlroy, who was six shots behind. "And he'll be tough to catch."
Matsuyama was at 13-under 131 and led by...