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GOLF | Hideki Matsuyama Struggles in ZOZO Championship's First Round and is Seven Strokes off the Pace

The defending champion will need a strong round to get back into contention as he bids to become the first two-time winner of the tournament.

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Hideki Matsuyama tees off on the 11th hole at the ZOZO Championship at the Accordia Golf Narashino Country Club in Inzai, Chiba Prefecture, on October 13. (KYODO)

This article first appeared on SportsLook, JAPAN Forward's dedicated sports website.

INZAI, Chiba Pref. ― Defending champion Hideki Matsuyama couldn't find his rhythm and shot a 1-over-par 71 on Thursday, October 13 to finish seven strokes back of leader Brendan Steele after the first round of the PGA Tour's ZOZO Championship.

Steele finished with four consecutive birdies at the Accordia Golf Narashino Country Club for a 64 and a one-stroke lead over fellow American Adam Schenk. 

Sam Ryder, also of the United States, shot a 66 and was tied for third with compatriots Matthew NeSmith and Keegan Bradley.

"Everybody says if you birdie 18, dinner tastes better," Steele said. "But four in a row is definitely really nice and feels good."

Read the full story on SportsLook.

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Author: Jim Armstrong

The author is a longtime journalist who has covered sports in Japan for over 25 years. You can find his articles here.

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