Sports

Collin Morikawa leads British Open in his debut

Collin Morikawa looked like he was about to run away and hide on Friday at the British Open at Royal St. George’s.

And it was only the second round.

That’s how good the 24-year-old was as he made the turn at 6-under-par through nine holes and looked like he was about to shatter some scoring records.

When he was finished, Morikawa, the 2020 PGA Championship winner who’s playing in his first career British Open, stood as the leader at 9-under par for the tournament.

A week ago, Morikawa was playing links golf for the first time in his life – and finishing in a tie for 71st at the Scottish Open. Now, after his opening-round 67, and then Friday’s elite performance, he looks like the best player in the British Open field.

Collin Morikawa
Collin Morikawa, 24, can become the first man to win two golf majors in his debut.
PGA TOUR

“I had to adjust,” the No. 4 ranked player in the world said. “I wouldn’t be here through these two rounds if I hadn’t played last week at Scottish. I’ve played in firm conditions. I can think of places I’ve played in tighter, drier conditions, but just having fescue fairways and the ball sitting a little different was huge to see last week. 

“I changed my irons, my 9 through 7-iron that I normally have blades in … because I couldn’t find the center of the face. I was hitting these iron shots last week that I just normally don’t and my swing felt good, but it was a huge learning opportunity. Last week I wanted to win, but I came out of it learning a lot more, and thankfully it helped for this week.’’

Morikawa fell two shots short of equaling the major record of 62 set by Branden Grace in the 2017 Open at Royal Birkdale. He also fell a shot short of the tournament record at Royal St. George’s, set in 1993 by Nick Faldo and Payne Stewart.

“I had no clue what any course record was,’’ Morikawa said. “I don’t know any of those numbers. I’m awful with that stuff knowing ahead. Now I do know. I was just trying to make a lot of birdies.’’

On Friday, he made seven.

Collin Morikawa
Collin Morikawa claims he does not look at records or attempt to break them.
PA Images via Getty Images

Morikawa is in a position to become the first man to win two different majors in his debut in them. In 2020, he won the PGA Championship at TPC Harding Park in San Francisco.

The 24-year-old has seven top-10s this year, including his fourth PGA Tour title coming in the World Golf Championships-Workday Championship and a runner-up finish in the Memorial. He also tied for eighth in the PGA Championship and tied for fourth in the U.S. Open.

So, he’s trending, as the world could see on Friday.

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