Collin Morikawa Descends Then Climbs the U.S. Open Leaderboard

BROOKLINE, Mass. — Halfway by means of the U.S. Open, Collin Morikawa stood atop the leaderboard trying so as to add a 3rd main championship to his résumé.

However on transferring day, as Saturdays are known as on the PGA Tour, Morikawa uncharacteristically went backward. After a seven-over-par 77, Morikawa discovered himself six photographs off the tempo when he teed off on Sunday. It proved to be too nice a deficit to beat to maneuver again into competition, however he walked off the course on the Nation Membership greater than happy, having improved his rating by 11 photographs from the earlier spherical.

“I don’t know if I discovered one thing,” he stated after his 66 moved him to 2 beneath par and right into a tie for fifth. “I believe it simply taught me that I must go play golf. This 12 months has been so targeted on making an attempt to hit that reduce and making an attempt to be so excellent, and that’s who I’m. However simply exit and play. Issues are going to be powerful. The ball shouldn’t be going to go the place you need. However simply determine it out.”

Morikawa, the defending British Open champion and the 2020 P.G.A. Championship winner, performed a bogey-free again 9 in dank, cool circumstances. He got here to the 18th inexperienced figuring he wanted to make a birdie to have any probability. However his putt got here up a foot quick.

“I had some momentum, form of carrying on,” stated Morikawa, who shot a 32, three beneath par, on the again 9. “If I may have gotten to 4, that may be a pleasant quantity to submit. It was nonetheless a number of quick, however it was a much-needed spherical.”

Morikawa shot 66 on Friday, rising as a co-leader, with Joel Dahmen, after two rounds. Then got here the catastrophe on Saturday, when his spherical featured 4 bogeys, two double-bogeys and only one birdie.

He had stated earlier than the match that he was struggling along with his iron play. He usually performs a left-to-right reduce shot, however recently the ball had been going right-to-left, he stated. However Morikawa had little hassle the primary two days.

“With the way in which I had been enjoying, I didn’t see that coming,” he stated.

He added: “I hope many seven-overs aren’t coming sooner or later. However it simply form of made me refocus and form of simply get again into issues. Simply get it off the tee, onto the golf green, after which fear about it from there.”

Morikawa known as Sunday’s spherical “an enormous increase” and stated he would bear in mind the weekend extra for his three sub-70 scores than the Saturday meltdown. Earlier than the third spherical, his worst rating in a U.S. Open had are available 2020 at Winged Foot in New York, the place he opened with a 76 and missed the reduce.

Final 12 months, he completed in a tie for fourth at Torrey Pines close to San Diego. He then went on to win his second main, besting Jordan Spieth by two strokes at Royal St. George’s.

As was the case final 12 months, Morikawa stated he deliberate to play the Scottish Open to tune up for this 12 months’s British Open at St. Andrews, a course he stated he had not but performed. However he stated he understood it could be loads completely different for him this time round for 2 causes: his standing because the reigning champion and the venue, the historic Previous Course.

“I believe I’m going to need to do a very good job prioritizing each single day and splitting up what I must give attention to,” he stated. “Whether or not it’s the golf or whether or not I simply must take pleasure in simply being there at St. Andrews, again because the defending champion.”

He added, “There’s going to be a pair extra distractions, however that doesn’t imply I gained’t be specializing in golf when the time comes.”

This was Morikawa’s 14th official tour occasion of the season. He tied for second on the Genesis Invitational in February and positioned second on the CJ Cup at Summit within the fall. He completed fifth on the Masters Event, closing in model by holing out from the bunker on the 72nd gap.

Along with his two majors, Morikawa has three different PGA Tour victories, all coming earlier than he turned 25. He gained twice final season; the World Golf Championships and the British Open. He additionally gained the DP World Championship in 2021. Getting into the U.S. Open, he was ranked No. 7 within the Official World Golf Rankings and was twentieth in factors on the FedEx Cup checklist.

Along with the golf occasions Morikawa has deliberate, there is also a marriage coming as much as his longtime girlfriend, Katherine Zhu. Not like Brooks Koepka, who publicized his June marriage ceremony, Morikawa wouldn’t disclose any plans of the approaching nuptials.

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