La Cañada High School graduate Collin Morikawa closed out his four-year collegiate career at Cal as one of the program’s all-time best golfers.
He became the second Bear to win the Pac-12 Player of the Year honor after claiming the individual conference title. The former Spartan was also named a Division I PING first-team All-American, becoming the first four-time All-American golfer in the program’s history. Morikawa tied for sixth place in the NCAA Championships and helped his team finish 10th at Blessings Golf Club in Arkansas. He was third in the nation with a 68.65 stroke average, ranked as the No. 3 collegiate golfer by Golfstat and a finalist for the Jack Nicklaus National Player of the Year Award.
It was an unforgettable year for Morikawa, who graduated from LCHS in 2015, but it didn’t end after the conclusion of the college golf season. His stellar play and success carried over into his professional debut, which was the RBC Canadian Open in Ontario. The four-time Rio Hondo League most valuable player finished eight under par after three rounds, tying for 14th in the tournament. Rory McIlroy won the tourney with -22.
Morikawa then tied for 35th in the U.S. Open and tied for 36th place in the Travelers Championship, earning him trip to the 3M Open at TPC Twin Cities in Blaine, Minnesota. The local golfer shone in the competition and battled the top-ranked collegiate golfer, Matthew Wolff of Oklahoma State, until the final hole. The Pac-12 champion came up short and finished as runner-up, tying Bryson DeChambeau with a final of 20 under par. Wolff won the 3M Open title finishing with 21 under par.
“Heading down to the end of the season and obviously there’s one more notch I want to reach, but it is a good feeling, you know, to finish [tied for second],” Morikawa told Golf Digest. “You’re never going to be fully disappointed on that. It’s another week and I think this is really going to help me just kind of move forward in the next month or so.”
A stellar performance at the 3M Open made Morikawa eligible for unlimited sponsor exemptions through the 2019 season. He earned a temporary Professional Golfers’ Association membership and will continue to participate in pro tournaments. The Cal standout will travel to Silvis, Illinois to compete in the John Deere Classic, which begins this morning.
“I love this, I love being out here,” Morikawa told Golf Digest. “This is exactly what I’ve wanted to do my entire life. It’s kind of emotional just being here because this is what I want to do. I can’t see anything else. So I’m excited to keep playing. Next week should be fun, and hopefully, we’ll keep going from there.”
The John Deere Classic will be televised by CBS, and Morikawa is among of the favorites to win the tourney. According to Westgate Las Vegas Superbook, the local pro enters the competition with 20-to-1 odds to win the $6 million purse. Morikawa’s tee time is scheduled for 6:30 a.m.
“I think I’ve already proven to myself that I can come out here and play with these guys,” Morikawa said in a press conference prior to the John Deere Classic on Tuesday. “I’ve felt very comfortable since the first day I stepped out here on tour a month ago in Canada.”