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Collin Morikawa and caddie JJ Jakovac on Sunday on the 18th hole on the Plantation Course at Kapalua.
Collin Morikawa is still in Hawaii.
We’ll start on a good note.
“I’m going to take two days off and enjoy Hawaii a little bit more,” he said Sunday. “It’s not going to be as great, but it will still be good.
“But, yeah, my mind’s already thinking about what we need to do. It’s going to hurt, but I got to get over it because we’re still in the very early parts of the season.”
Now the not-so-good.
It shouldn’t have been this way. Six-shot advantage to start the Tournament of Champions final round. Smooth swing, as always. Crispy on and around the greens, too, though that was something fresh for Morikawa. Last season, he was 131st on tour in Strokes Gained: Putting, and worse yet — 152nd! — in SG: Around the Green. Then he called on some help over the fall, and he began the new year a man. Through three rounds, Morikawa was pitching and chipping and putting as pure as the blue skies and blue water around Kapalua.
Now the not-so-good.
They came fast. As did Jon Rahm, your eventual winner.
On the 284-yard, par-4 14th, after a tee shot into the right greenside bunker, Morikawa thinned his second shot over the green. He bogeyed. After starting the hole up three, he was now tied with Rahm.
On the next hole, the 530-yard, par-5 15th, from 39 yards away, Morikawa chunked his third shot. He bogeyed again. He was down one.
On the next hole, the 360-yard, par-4 16th, from 77 yards away with his second shot, Morikawa hit the false front. He bogeyed again. And it was really kind of over.
Afterward, Morikawa said he felt “sadness.” That “it sucks.” Kudos to him for talking.
“You work so hard and you give yourself these opportunities and just bad timing on bad shots and kind of added up really quickly,” he said. “Don’t know what I’m going to learn from this week, but it just didn’t seem like it was that far off. It really wasn’t. Yeah, it sucks.”
Was there a shot he would have played differently?
“The drive off 14 wasn’t that bad,” Morikawa said. “I’ve been in that bunker, it’s not like it’s an impossible bunker shot. Normally 10 out of 10 times you’re putting that to within 15 feet at worst. I caught it thin.”
When did he feel like he was starting to lose control?
“At that point when I thinned it and missed that putt for par,” he said. “I mean, 10 I felt like I hit a good putt; 11, I hit a good putt; 12, hit a good putt; 13, didn’t hit a good putt. But you’re going to hit bad putts out there.
“So everything felt fine. You make a bogey there on 14, you’re like, OK, you got 15, you got 18, we’re still in it, we’re still right there, no problem. Then 15, just pushed the 5-wood just enough and knew it was going to roll down. Practiced that chip a bunch too and obviously not enough.”
A reporter then asked:
“From a disappointment level as a professional, is this the highlight or the lowlight?”
“Of my career so far?” the 25-year-old asked. “I would say so. Can’t really think of anything else. Yeah, it’s hard to look at the positives, it really is.”
We tried at the start, Collin.
“Today it felt fine,” he said. “Just made three poor swings, really, at the wrong times. It’s never a good time to put a poor swing on it, but sometimes it works out and these never worked out.”
Nick Piastowski is a Senior Editor at Golf.com and Golf Magazine. In his role, he is responsible for editing, writing and developing stories across the golf space. And when he’s not writing about ways to hit the golf ball farther and straighter, the Milwaukee native is probably playing the game, hitting the ball left, right and short, and drinking a cold beer to wash away his score. You can reach out to him about any of these topics — his stories, his game or his beers — at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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