March 23, 2018

Belgian star Pieters seizes early Bridgestone lead

07 August 2017, 01:28 | Clyde Nash

Belgian star Pieters seizes early Bridgestone lead

Belgian star Pieters seizes early Bridgestone lead

Matsuyama now holds a two-shot lead over two-time major victor Zach Johnson (through 13 holes), with American Charley Hoffman a shot back in third at 10-under (15 holes).

The start of play had been delayed due to a passing storm over Firestone Country Club and just over two hours' play was possible before the threat of lightning caused another 45-minute delay.

Pieters, who posted a four-under 66, opened his round with three consecutive birdies and added two more before dropping his first shot of the day at the par-4 ninth to turn in four-under 31.

Indeed, by the time McIlroy and playing partners Jason Day and Jordan Spieth finished their second rounds it was nearly 10 hours since they originally teed off.

Pieters made only three pars over his last 11 holes, yet he still has his best chance to win in America. "When my pace starts to feel good and I start to get dialed in, that is when I know I am hitting it good". Pieters is a three-time victor on the European Tour who showed his awesome potential at the Ryder Cup previous year, and now has his best chance to win in the U.S.

A good performance at Quail Hollow for McIlroy may well lead to us seeing a lot more of Mr Harry Diamond in the coming years. I just was out of position every hole.

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After dramatic victories in each of his last two starts, Jordan Spieth had a pretty stress-free finale at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational.

"Once we got back out there after the delay, I think everybody felt a little flat", said the Northern Irishman. "I've played with him countless times, it's nothing out of the ordinary".

The 25-year-old Pieters rolled in five birdies on the day including his long putt on the par-four, 494-yard No 9 as he leads Russell Knox by one shot.

Another shot away was world number one Dustin Johnson, who bombed a 439-yard drive on his way to a birdie at the downhill par-five 16th hole.

"I really scrambled nicely, and made a couple of really long putts back-to-back in the middle of the round that put us at three (under) when I felt like I played a one or two-under round", said Spieth, victor of his last two events.

He had four birdies on each side with one bogey, capping his round with a 15-foot birdie putt at 18. "It's been like that for three days and I've managed to score really well". "I didn't help myself by missing a few chances as soon as we came back out". Two birdies on the back allowed him to salvage a 74.

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