Local favorite Hideki Matsuyama swept to the front of the field at the Zozo Championship on Friday, carding a 2-under 68 for a one-stroke lead after two rounds.
The Masters champion sat at 8-under for the joint PGA and Japan Golf Tour tournament after carding three birdies and a bogey on a cold and rainy second day at Narashino Country Club in Chiba Prefecture near Tokyo.
American Cameron Tringale fired the equal-best round of the day, a 4-under 66, to move up four places into outright second at 7-under, while the overnight leader, Japan's Hiroshi Iwata, shot 3-over 73 to fall back into a tie for seventh at 4-under.
Starting his round on No. 10, the 29-year-old Matsuyama birdied the 13th hole, three-putted the par-4 17th for a bogey before bouncing back on the par-5 18th, reaching the green in two and birdying.
"Getting to the greens in two was big," said Matsuyama, who picked up another stroke on No. 3.
After losing a bronze-medal playoff at the Tokyo Games this summer, the Ehime Prefecture native is aiming to win his seventh PGA Tour title on home soil.
"I think I'm in a good position now, so I want to keep going without making any big changes," he said.
Following an even-par opening round, Tokyo Olympic gold medalist Xander Schauffele shot 4-over to tumble down the leaderboard, the American tying for 58th.
British Open winner Collin Morikawa of the United States shot 68 to move up to 1-under, tying for 20th.