This week marks Collin Morikawa’s eighth start at a major championship. In his past seven starts Morikawa had three top-10 finishes, including a win at the 2020 PGA Championship at Harding Park.
Playing well at major championships typically involves a learning curve when young players first make their way on Tour. Morikawa has had no such curve, he has come out ready to win and ready to win a lot.
Morikawa has come out on fire in his first Open Championship, shooting a solid 67 yesterday to put him in good position heading into Friday’s second round. He took it up a notch Friday, shooting six under 64.
Morikawa birdied two of his first five holes and added two more at eight and nine to go out in 31. Morikawa kept it going and it looked like it could be an historic round as the Cal alum birdied 11, 12, and 14 to get to seven under on the day.
Morikawa’s initial introduction to links golf at the Scottish Open didn’t look great on paper after a 71-73 weekend resulted in a 71st place finish. But to Morikawa, the learning experience meant much more than his score.
“I wouldn't be here through these two rounds if I hadn't played last week at Scottish,” Morikawa said. “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.”
Morikawa said that he struggled with his ball-striking heading into The Open. It’s hard to fathom the best iron player in the world having any trouble making consistent contact. Luckily Morikawa found a quick fix that seems to have paid off.
“I changed my irons, my 9 through 7-iron that I normally have blades in. I changed to the MCs strictly because I couldn't find the centre of the face,” Morikawa said. “I was sitting 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 had never seen Royal St George’s and said he didn’t know much about it and is “awful” with golf history. Even though he had never seen the course coming in, Morikawa said he tries to fit his game into the course as opposed to adjusting his game for different golf courses.
“I always try and fit my game into how do I play my best golf, and I feel like I can win if I stick to what I've been doing, stick to my approach shots, stick to those 8-irons, 9-irons, 7-irons, because that's my bread and butter. That's what I love to do,” he said.