Reigning Masters champion Hideki Matsuyama on Friday announced that he tested positive for the coronavirus disease. The development forced Matsuyama to withdraw from the second round of the US PGA Rocket Mortgage Classic in Detroit, Michigan. In an interview, the Japanese parbuster voiced regret over the development. He says that he is taking the “necessary precautions to ensure the health and safety of other players.”
Matsuyama, who was playing alongside six-time major winners Phil Mickelson and Rickie Fowler in the first two rounds of the event, shot a 70 in the first round. This has forced Mickelson and Fowler to play twosome in the second round. The golfer is scheduled to compete in the British Open on July 15-18 at Royal St. George’s and will represent Japan in the Tokyo Olympic golf tournament from July 29-August 1. Matsuyama will undergo a mandatory 10-day COVID-19 quarantine. He will submit two negative tests in separate days to get cleared under US PGA health protocols. The Japanese parbuster’s absence in the tournament will affect those who invested in him to win the four-round tournament. The best online golf betting site will update Matsuyama’s situation and his hopes to take part in the British Open and Olympics.
Niemann, Lewis lead 2nd round
Joaquin Niemann and Tom Lewis both fired 3-under-par 69 on Friday to grab a share of the lead in the second round of the Rocket Mortgage Classic. Chile’s Niemann and Englishman Lewis were a shot ahead of three Americans Troy Merritt, Chris Kirk, and Max Homa. Eight other parbusters were two strokes off the pace. This includes first-round leader Davis Thompson, who struggled with a 73 after surging to a 63 in the opener. Niemann had a bogey-free day as he had three birdies in the eighth, 14th, and 17th holes.
Lewis also had a bogey-free day with birdies on the second, fourth, and 13th holes. Homa placed himself in the hunt after carding a 7-under-par 65 in the second round. He is tied with Kirk and Merritt, who both shot a 68. Russell Knox was also in contention after shooting a 65 for a two-round aggregate of 136. Also, making the cuts were 2016 Masters champion Danny Willett (138) and 2011 PGA Championship winner Keegan Bradley (139). Others include two-time Masters champion Bubba Watson (141) and Six-time major winner Phil Mickelson (141).
However, it was not a good two days for former US Open champions Gary Woodland and Bryson DeChambeau as both players missed the halfway cut. Woodland carded a 70 in the second round and missed the weekend by one stroke while DeChambeau shot a 71 to settle for a 1-under 143.
The tournament is shaping up to be a 13-man battle with all of them within two shots off the lead. Niemann and Lewis are surprise leaders but the question now is can they sustain the lead until the final round or are we expecting a big comeback from the big guns of the sport. The best live golf bets suggest a close fight in Detroit with a new winner emerging at the crucial rounds of the tournament.