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May 17, 2024 5:07 pm

Collin Morikawa uses birdie run to grab PGA Championship lead

morikawa

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Most of the attention surrounded the surreal Scottie Scheffler situation heading into the second round of the PGA Championship on Friday at Valhalla Golf Club. But on the course, it was Collin Morikawa who stole some of the headlines.

The two-time major champion started at No. 10 and birdied five straight holes on the front nine before making a bogey on his final hole, carding a 6-under-par 65 to jump into the lead at 11-under 131.

“Look, the little five-run birdie was me just playing solid golf, and sometimes when the putts drop, that’s what happened,” Morikawa said. “But for the most part, that’s the kind of golf I’m going to ask for myself over the next two days and 36 holes is just stay present, hit your shots, execute them, and if the putts drop, the putts drop.

“But really not force anything. I wasn’t forcing anything out there, especially throughout all of today.”

Xander Schauffele, who matched the major championship mark with a course-record 62 on Thursday, teed off in the afternoon wave.

It took a while for anyone to catch up to Schauffele on a rainy day at Valhalla, but Morikawa finally did it with the run of birdies late in his round. He made birdie at Nos. 4-8 to go to 12 under before his bogey at No. 9.

It was the longest birdie streak of his major championship career.

“I’ve been putting great so far since Augusta, so it’s nice to just kind of keep that trend going,” Morikawa said, “and was able to hit a few good close shots, few wedge shots, take advantage of the short holes, the par-5s and for the most part didn’t really make any big errors, other than the last hole, just that approach shot.”

The 27-year-old Morikawa has six wins on tour, most recently at the Zozo Championship last October. His two major titles came at the 2020 PGA Championship and the 2021 Open Championship.

Morikawa had four straight top-25s heading into this week.

“I know I still have it in me, and that’s what’s exciting is that, after Augusta, it sucked to finish like that and it sucked to lose to Scottie (at the Masters), but at the end of the day, I knew I had three more majors coming up and to prep for that and get things as sharp as possible and just come out strong,” he said. “It’s obviously nice to get off to this start.”

Scheffler (66), Mark Hubbard (68) and Belgium’s Thomas Detry (67) are in the clubhouse at 9 under, while Austin Eckroat (67) is 8 under.

–Jody Demling, Field Level Media

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