KAPALUA, Hawaii – Collin Morikawa isn’t a surfer, however he’s driving a wave to the highest of the leaderboard on the Sentry Match of Champions.
Morikawa made an eagle and 6 birdies to shoot 8-under 65 at Kapalua Hotel’s Plantation Direction to open up a six-stroke lead heading into the overall spherical over primary winners Matt Fitzpatrick, Scottie Scheffler and Valero Texas Open winner J.J. Spaun.
“It’s been lovely easy lately. More or less during the last 3 days, is the place I’ve been having a look is more or less the place the ball’s been going,” Morikawa stated.
Morikawa is the one participant within the box with out a bogey thru 54 holes. Simply after Scheffler made an eagle to quickly tie him, Morikawa holed an 11-foot eagle putt on the 5th and adopted it up with a birdie at six (and a Scheffler bogey on the identical gap) to reclaim regulate of the match.
Morikawa’s putter remained crimson scorching – he’s main the sector in Strokes Won: Hanging (+6.778).
“I stay looking forward to him to pass over the sort of,” stated PGA Excursion Radio’s Mark Wilson after Morikawa tired an 8-foot par putt at 10. “He’s like a robotic available in the market.”
Morikawa’s six-shot lead equals the most important 54-hole lead of the season (Russell Henley/Global Broad Era Championship at Mayakoba) and suits the most important on the tournament since 1999. However Morikawa, who is looking for his first Excursion victory because the 2021 British Open and 6th profession Excursion name is aware of it gained’t be simple. He blew a five-stroke lead on the Hero Global Problem in December 2021, which might have lifted him to international No. 1.
“Ultimate 12 months felt see you later. That roughly heart of the season truly from Avid gamers during playoffs simply felt find it irresistible by no means ended,” he stated. “It used to be identical to I play a match, you get again house, you play some other match, play two extra. You’re at all times looking. It doesn’t imply — whilst you’re taking part in smartly you’re nonetheless looking for one thing. But it surely’s felt like some time, particularly because you see roughly my friends and pals rise up to the highest and, yeah, the next day’s a large one.”
Coming into the week, Rory McIlroy held the name of No. 1 on this planet, however he would possibly not be capable to say so on Monday if Scottie Scheffler has anything else to mention about it.
Scheffler posted 4-under 69 on Saturday, his 7th consecutive under-par spherical on the tournament, and can input the overall spherical in a three-way tied for 2nd at 18-under 201, six pictures off the tempo. If Scheffler finishes tied for 1/3 with one different participant, or higher, he would go back to international No. 1, which he held for 30 weeks in 2022.
Scheffler struggled along with his placing on Saturday, shedding 1.391 strokes to the sector at the vegetables, and headed immediately to the practice-putting inexperienced, the place he spent an hour going thru a chain of drills. The grind by no means ends – particularly if you wish to be international No. 1.
You wouldn’t are aware of it from his pasty-white complexion, however Englishman Matt Fitzpatrick stated he has been playing the seaside along with his female friend this week on his first discuss with to Maui. They performed a few rounds in combination at Kapalua ahead of the match were given underway to get his toes rainy however in a different way spent the afternoon on the seaside. Requested if he considers himself to be a seaside man, Fitzpatrick stated, “Yeah, I’d say so. So long as it’s now not too windy.”
Fitzpatrick additionally likes the exchange he made to his irons, including 8 grams to the ideas of his grips to create a fade bias.
“Felt slightly bit extra relaxed available in the market,” he stated. “I in reality spoke to Mr. Nicklaus about it as a result of anyone informed me he did it. I requested him and, yeah, we kind of had a handy guide a rough chat about it on why he did it and stuff.”
Fitzpatrick reeled off 5 birdies in his ultimate seven holes to shoot 7-under 66. He’s tied for 2nd, six again as he chases his 2nd Excursion name.
Max Homa had a just right feeling about Saturday’s 1/3 spherical once he were given notified that he used to be paired along with his just right good friend, caddie Jim “Bones” Mackay. No less than that’s how Homa put it in a tweet, a playful jab at Justin Thomas. “We had a just right vibe,” Homa stated of the pairing.
Every now and then issues simply roughly determine. Can’t wait to play with one in all my favourite folks the next day! I’m hoping he has an excellent day caddying for @JustinThomas34 #Bones percent.twitter.com/0B8VtPd4QY
— max homa (@maxhoma23) January 7, 2023
What did he and Thomas discuss throughout the 1/3 spherical at Kapalau?
“I will by no means proportion the ones,” Homa stated. “However I did inform him he sounded truly cool strolling along with his spikes from 17 to 18 at the concrete. He stated he would possibly put on ’em to the pool lately.”
Homa wore out the usual bearer who saved having to replace Homa’s rating as he poured in 10 birdies to shoot 10-under 63.
“Ten beneath is far cooler than 63,” he stated. “Double digits beneath par is a groovy feeling.”
Homa’s sport has advanced on a daily basis as he knocked off the rust from a layoff that incorporated quite a few diaper converting.
“The day past I used to be completely grooving, hadn’t neglected a shot after which I roughly part crowned one on 9 looking to hit a low one and made double,” he stated. “(These days) on 9, I roughly drop kicked my pitch and were given it up and down for par. That used to be a large second for me.”
The opposite distinction? Working out the velocity of the slopey vegetables on the Plantation Direction. Homa made simply 37 toes of putts on Thursday and ranked third-to-last in Strokes Won: Hanging a few of the box of 39 and advanced to 112 toes on Saturday. His longest putt made within the first spherical used to be 10 toes however he tired a 30 footer on Friday and canned a 45-foot putt on Saturday at No. 13.
Hideki Matsuyama used to be caught in impartial for many of Saturday’s 1/3 spherical – two misplaced pictures from early bogeys at Nos. 3 and four have been recovered via birdies at Nos. 5 and six however then all pars thru 12. Matsuyama got here alive and recorded six immediately birdies to near his 1/3 spherical and shoot 6-under 67.
The string of six immediately birdies for Matsuyama marked his longest birdies streak on Excursion. He’ll protect his name subsequent week on the Sony Hawaiian Open.