Two weeks removed from missing the cut for the first time in his PGA Tour career, Collin Morikawa was ready to pick himself up in the Workday Charity Open at Muirfield Village Golf Club in Dublin, Ohio.
“We’ve got a few more weeks left of the full regular season until the playoffs, and after that missed cut, I learned a lot,” he said. “I came out fresh, I had a nice week off, and I’m ready. I’m ready to compete with these guys.”
The La Cañada High School graduate proved he wasn’t fazed by his previous struggles and rallied to defeat Justin Thomas after three playoff holes on Sunday. Morikawa, who had lost a playoff one month ago, claimed his second PGA Tour championship with a par on the final hole.
“Those three holes were a grind — obviously, Justin making that birdie putt on that first playoff hole, I had to make it or else we go home again,” Morikawa said after the tournament. “I just got a little more comfortable throughout the playoff, and I think it just took me a little time. Two playoffs now and finally got one done. … I’m super happy I closed it out after those first two days.”
Morikawa was hot out of the gate and shot a 7-under 65 in the first round and was minus-13 through the second. The Cal product remained at 13 under after three rounds but fell to No. 3 on the leaderboard.
Thomas blew a three-shot lead with two bogeys in the final three holes. Morikawa was clutch with a birdie on the 17th and par on the 16th and 18th holes to force the playoff.
“Well, I knew I had three holes to go,” he said. “ … I hit a good shot on 16, hit probably the best putt I’ve hit all week. Never went in. It’s going to happen. Got lucky on 17, made that putt, and then 18 got away with that last, whatever, 2½-, 3-footer that went in the hole. But yeah, I just wanted a chance and had a chance from the start, got off to a really good start.”
The former Spartan didn’t buckle under the pressure on the first playoff hole and sank a 24-foot, 3-inch putt for birdie to keep up with Thomas, who had made his birdie shot from 50 feet, 6 inches.
“It just had to go in,” said Morikawa. “There was nothing else. If it missed, I missed. Thankfully, Justin kind of had a shorter putt on that line in regulation, and I knew it kind of drifted off to the right at the end. That’s what the greens book said as well.”
Morikawa earned $1,116,000 and gained even more notoriety in the golf world. He is now ranked No. 13 in the world ahead of Tiger Woods (No. 14) after edging out Thomas, who is No. 3. The former Bear now has more victories (two) than missed cuts (one), becoming only the second golfer — after Woods — to claim his second PGA win before missing his second cut.
The victory marked his fifth top-10 finish of the PGA Tour season and propelled his latest rise in the FedEx Cup Standings.
“I mean, it’s huge,” when asked about defeating one of the best players in the world. “ … I think every single week, my game feels like it’s there, and just a lot, a lot of positives, but I’m just really happy right now.”
La Cañada Flintridge native Morikawa is scheduled to compete at Muirfield Village for a second consecutive week for the Memorial Tournament today through Sunday. The field includes notable top-30 players such as Daniel Berger, Patrick Cantlay, Paul Casey, Bryson DeChambeau, Tony Finau, Rickie Fowler, Sungjae Im, Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka, Shane Lowry, Rory McIlroy and Woods, who is making his first PGA Tour appearance since the shutdown.
Online sportsbook BetMGM has Morikawa with the sixth-best odds of winning the Memorial at +2000. Ahead of him are DeChambeau (+1000), Thomas (+1100), Cantlay (+1400), McIlroy (+1400) and Johnson (+1600). Woods isn’t far behind at +2200.