News & ToursAugust 14, 2015

Hiroshi Iwata lights up course, media center at Whistling Straits

HAVEN, Wis. -- You'll be forgiven if you haven't heard of Hiroshi Iwata. But it's a name that made waves at Whistling Straits on Friday.

Iwata, a 34-year-old on the Japan Golf Tour, had made just three major appearances before the 2015 PGA Championship. In each start, Iwata failed to make the cut.

It appeared that streak would continue in Wisconsin. In the wind-battered Thursday afternoon conditions, Iwata fired an opening-round 77.

However, after going 14 shots lower on Friday -- for you math scholars, that would be a 63 -- Iwata finds himself just three shots out of the lead heading into afternoon play.

The 63 tied the mark for lowest round in major championship history, equaling the likes of Jack Nicklaus, Tiger Woods, Gary Player, Nick Faldo and Rory McIlroy. It also broke the Whistling Straits course record set by W.C. Liang in 2010.

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Iwata had eight birdies, an eagle and bogey on the day. But his hot streak didn't stop when he walked off the 18th green.

Speaking to the press after his round via an interpreter, Iwata was asked how he felt.

"I have seen these kind of media centers on TV," Iwata said. "But when I came in, I thought that it was going to be more people, more media."

His spitfire didn't stop there. When inquired to compare today's round to the time he shot 62 in a Thailand event, Iwata brought the house down.

"Just one shot different."

The press conference wrapped up with someone asking Iwata if he knew Isao Aoki, his fellow countryman who also once fired a 63 in a major championship setting.

"He's a legend in Japan, so I know him."

After today's 63, people know Hiroshi Iwata, too.

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