Collin Morikawa. Pic: Getty Images
Dublin, Ohio, July 10: Collin Morikawa, who missed the first cut of his professional career, two weeks ago, quickly found his rhythm and carded seven-under 65 to go right to the top of the leaderboard of the Workday Charity Open on Thursday.
After playing with his pet, a pit bull, Morikawa with his 65 led by one shot over Canadian, Adam Hadwin (66).
Morikawa, whose series of 22 cuts since pro debut, fell short by three of the record set by Tiger Woods, had just one blemish, a bogey on the 18th. The pick of the day was the par-5 fifth where his second shot settled three feet away for eagle and his birdies, except one came from inside 12 feet.
Morikawais seeking second PGA TOUR victory after the 2019 Barracuda Championship.
Coming off his third top-4 finish of the season, Hadwin recorded a 6-under 66, which had five birdies over his last eight holes.
Morikawa said, “It’s a beautiful track. It’s a very tough course, obviously, but you just have to map your way around it. You’ve got to be really smart. If you’re not in the fairway, you’ve got to make sure you play smart. I was playing smart but I felt good with my irons, so I was able to attack some pins when they were accessible.” He is looking forward to playing two weeks at Muirfield Village, which for the first time in 63 years will see the PGA TOUR will have tournaments on the same course in consecutive weeks.
Next week at Muirfield Village, when the Memorial Tournament is to be held, was to see fans for the first time since the PGA TOUR returned on June 11. However, that plan has been shelved and it will also be without fans, but the event will see the return of Tiger Woods, since the Tour embarked on its ‘Return to Golf’ journey during the pandemic.
Phil Mickelson was 4 under at the turn and narrowly missed a 10-foot birdie chance on the 11th. Then things fell apart as he made a bogey from the bunker and missed a 5-foot par. He needed two chips from 25 feet to get on the 14th green and found the water for double bogey on the 16thas his back nine came in 41 and the card turned tot 73.
Brooks Koepka, coming back for the first time since withdrawing from the Travelers Championship after his caddie tested positive for the coronavirus, used PGA TOUR winner Marc Turnesa as a caddie for this week. But with a 74 he could be missing the weekend as he was T-111.
Keegan Bradley had a 69 but his the shot that would have brought the house down didn’t even get noticed by the player till he came closer. It was a 6-Iron on the Par-3 fourth, which went in for a hole-in-one.
“There was probably five or six people up by the green, and no one did anything,” said Bradley. “We walked up to the green, I fixed my ball mark. I’m looking all over the green for it. And someone just goes, `It’s in the hole,’ like really casually. It was just bizarre.” Bradley (69) had a hole-in-one on the par-3 fourth hole with a 6-iron from 209 yards and his scorecard included a 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5.
Another one with an ace was Jason Kokrak on Par-3 16th, but his card which also had four birdies and a double bogey, was 74 and he could miss the cut.
Justin Thomas (T7; -4) posted his 40th bogey-free round since the start of the 2014-15 season, which is the most (48 by Charles Howell III and 41 by Hideki Matsuyama and equal to 40 by Patrick Reed.
Workday ambassador Phil Mickelson (73; T89) carded a 1-over and another Workday ambassador Matthew Fitzpatrick had a similar score, with Mickelson’s former caddie, Jim “Bones” Mackay, on his bag
Brooks Koepka shot 74 and prior to this, he had posted all eight rounds in the 60s since the PGA TOUR returned to action. Koepka was T111 and his brother, Chase Koepka, opened with an 8-over 80
The three players, who returned to action despite testing positive, Dylan Frittelli (73), Denny McCarthy (73) and Nick Watney (77) were down the leaderboard.
The Workday Charity Open fills the gap created by the John Deere Classic, which decided to cancel earlier this year and will return in 2021.