Will Collin Morikawa be buoyed by firing 25-under and finishing in second place in his first start of 2023, or will the pain of squandering a six-shot lead entering Sunday?
Most likely, it will be a combination of both. Morikawa lost himself on the back nine at Kapalua, surrendering the Sentry Tournament of Champions to Jon Rahm, who also had to finish in a flurry to come back to win.
It was a tough pill to swallow, but the fact that he still beat a ton of elite golfers despite the hiccups shows how well he played for most of the week.
He took the next two tournaments off. This wasn’t Morikawa’s first time failing to close a tournament. He’s bounced back after those, and I anticipate him to do so in this spot with rest on his side.
The Los Angeles native has skipped the Farmers Insurance Open in his home state the last two years, choosing to play in DP World Tour events in Asia instead.
His tournament debut was in 2020 when he finished T-21st. Morikawa opened with 2-under 70 on the North course before closing in 69-74-69 on the South.
At the 2021 U.S. Open at the South course, the Cal-Berkeley alum overcame an opening 75 to not only make the cut with a Friday 67, but he added a pair of 70s on the weekend to finish T-4th. After his wins at the 2020 PGA Championship and 2021 Open Championship, this is his highest major championship finish.
While he didn’t truly contend for the title, Morikawa should still have pretty good vibes. Not to mention, his familiarity with poa annua greens is a way to gain on the field in his statistically weakest category.
Morikawa’s ball striking is enough to hold up at Torrey Pines. He was third on the PGA Tour last season in strokes gained per round on approach (.854) and 17th tee to green (1.066). He doesn’t bash the ball like some recent Farmers winners, but Morikawa has enough power to hang in there most weeks. Plus, he hits lots of fairways (65.27%), which allows his iron play to shine.
He was third in proximity from the fairway (28’2”), first in proximity from 100-plus yards (28’11”), first from 200-plus yards (43’1”), and first from 200-250 yards (37’8”).