Morikawa way ahead as Tom Kim is tied fifth

KAPALUA, Hawaii, Jan 8: After going through 2022 without a win, Collin Morikawa is ready to begin 2023 with a win in his first start as he built a six-shot lead with one round to go at the Sentry Tournament of Champions.

Morikawa pulled away on the back nine making four birdies over his final five holes for 8-under 65 and a six-shot lead.

Morikawa at 24-under 195 leads over three players U.S. Open champion Matt Fitzpatrick (66), Masters champion Scottie Scheffler (69) and J.J. Spaun (69) at the Plantation Course at Kapalua.

Korean sensation Tom Kim (68) was tied fifth with Jon Rahm (67) at 17-under while Sungjae Im (65) was tied seventh at 16-under as Hideki Matsuyama (67) and KH Lee (67) were tied ninth at 15-under.

Indian American Sahith Theegala (72) slipped to tied 29th at nine-under.

The bogey free Morikawa is reaping benefits of a stint with a putting coach late last year and that with his incredible iron play could make a major force this year.

Morikawa has yet to make a bogey over 54 holes on the Plantation Course at Kapalua, and he has rarely come close. He made a 10-footer for par on the fourth hole to avoid a long three-putt, making that as pure as so many of his birdies.

Morikawa is one of the 10 players at Kapalua who failed to win this year. With a $15 million purse the PGA TOUR chose to expand the field to include all those who reached the FedExCup finale at East Lake.

Scheffler started two shots behind but was unable to keep as Morikawa pulled away. Fitzpatrick had five birdies over his last seven holes in his round of 66 and will be in the final group for his first trip to Hawaii.

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