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practice green to the first tee on Saturday, he took them two at a time, as if to show that the lead he held halfway through the P.G.A. Championship was not weighing heavily on him.

Since he made the cut at the Masters as a teenager in 2011, Matsuyama has been expected in his homeland, Japan, to become the first player from the country to win a men’s major. Six years later, the expectation of Matsuyama’s coronation hung over the course, as though balloons and confetti were ready to be released from the cover of clouds.

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But the bounce in Matsuyama’s step could not hide his nerves, which revealed themselves in several loose swings in his round of two-over-par 73. Going into Sunday’s final round, he is tied for second with Chris Stroud (72) at six under over all, a stroke behind Kevin Kisner, who carded a 72 on Saturday.