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

 

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

But on shifting 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 at the Country Club 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 below par and right into a tie for fifth. “I feel it simply taught me that I must go play golf. This 12 months has been so targeted on attempting to hit that reduce and attempting to be so good, and that’s who I’m. But simply exit and play. Things are going to be robust. The ball isn’t going to go the place you need. But 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 likelihood. But his putt got here up a foot brief.

“I had some momentum, form of carrying on,” stated Morikawa, who shot a 32, three below par, on the again 9. “If I might have gotten to 4, that might be a pleasant quantity to put up. It was nonetheless a couple of brief, 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 currently the ball had been going right-to-left, he stated. But Morikawa had little hassle the first two days.

“With the approach I had been taking part in, I didn’t see that coming,” he stated.

He added: “I hope many seven-overs aren’t coming in the future. But it simply form of made me refocus and form of simply get again into issues. Just get it off the tee, onto the fairway, after which fear about it from there.”

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

Last 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. But he stated he understood it could be loads completely different for him this time round for 2 causes: his standing as the reigning champion and the venue, the historic Old Course.

“I feel I’m going to must do a extremely good job prioritizing each single day and splitting up what I must give attention to,” he stated. “Whether it’s the golf or whether or not I simply must get pleasure from simply being there at St. Andrews, again as 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 at the Genesis Invitational in February and positioned second at the CJ Cup at Summit in the fall. He completed fifth at the Masters Tournament, closing in model by holing out from the bunker on the 72nd gap.

In addition to 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. Entering the U.S. Open, he was ranked No. 7 in the Official World Golf Rankings and was twentieth in factors on the FedEx Cup checklist.

In addition to the golf occasions Morikawa has deliberate, there is also a marriage coming as much as his longtime girlfriend, Katherine Zhu. Unlike Brooks Koepka, who publicized his June wedding ceremony, Morikawa wouldn’t reveal any plans of the impending nuptials.


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