It's been 10 years since Katsuma Miyamoto played the PGA TOUR. But he's found out this week while playing in his first World Golf Championships event that he still likes the food.
"I went to Applebee's last night and was able to eat some chicken wings," Miyamoto said through a translator. "So it's good to be back."
It was even better Saturday as Miyamoto posted a 62 that was one shot off the course record owned by Tiger Woods and Jose Maria Olazabal. His back-nine 29 that included an eagle at the 17th hole was also a tournament record.
"I got off to a great start," Miyamoto said. "I was able to shoot 2 under on the front nine, and then with that 17, that kind of got me to where I was today. But it was a good day."
The eagle at the 17th came courtesy of the pitching wedge he holed from 117 yards out.
"I couldn't see where it went, but when I got out of the bunker, I heard the crowd cheer, so I knew that it went in, and I was really excited," Miyamoto said.
The 37-year-old, who won four times on the Japan Tour last year, called the 29 "unbelievable." He made birdie putts of 12, 22, 30 and 8 feet on the back nine, as well.
"Of all the great players that have played here that really haven't posted that score, it's just an honor, and I'm just really so excited right now," said Miyamoto, who used just 24 putts.
Miyamoto's round was unusual in another way, too. He has been using the orange Bridgestone TourStage for about two years.
"In Japan, everybody knows that I use this ball, and it's kind of out there," Miyamoto said. "But here in the States, I still kind of get the reaction from the fans that they're not used to seeing this ball. So hopefully they'll get used to this ball, and I'll be able to show them more of that orange ball."
Miyamoto said he was surprised by the round of 8 under but he had hoped to get into red numbers for the tournament. He stands 5 under for the tournament and had moved into the top 10 when he finished Saturday.
"Obviously today I was able to shoot low and get into where I'm at now," Miyamoto said. "I'm definitely very excited and happy to be here."
Miyamoto's best finish when he played the TOUR in 1999 was a tie for 11th at the Buick Invitational. He also had ties for 12th and 13th but missed 14 cuts in 22 starts.
He wouldn't mind trying his luck again, though.
"Like Steve Stricker, I want the comeback show," Miyamoto said. "I want to try to get to play."
The three players from Japan have all gotten off to good starts at the Bridgestone Invitational.
Yuta Ikeda, who represents the tournament sponsor, has birdied three of his first five holes. Ryo Ishikawa and Katsumasa Miyamoto are each 1 under through two and four holes, respectively.
IIshikawa is a seven-time winner in Japan while Ikeda has won five times and Miyamoto has four titles to his credit. You can read a little more about the Japanese trio by clicking here. – Helen Ross