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By : BGA Proshop
Collin Morikawa holds off Justin Thomas in a playoff to win the Workday Charity Open.
Almost a month ago at the Charles Schwab Challenge, Morikawa lipped out a 3 foot putt in a sudden death playoff to lose but this week on the 18th hole he slipped in a 3 foot putt to get into a playoff with Thomas.
In what turned into a 2 horse race early, Thomas who was the overnight leader got off to a slow start bogeying 2 of the first 3 holes to drop back into the pack but towards the back of the outward nine got things going with 2 straight birdies on the 8th and 9th. He then continued his streak with birdies on the 10th and 11th making that 4 in a row. He wasn’t done yet with another birdie on the 14th and eagle on the 15th opening up a 3 shot lead over Morikawa.
Unfortunately 2 bogeys coming in on the 16th and 18th from Thomas left the door ad jarred for Morikawa.
Morikawa got off to a solid start with 2 birdies in the first 4 holes and an eagle on the 5th closed the gap on Thomas. Unable to match Thomas’s purple patch in the middle of his round, he went on to birdie the 12th, bogeyed the 13th but again birdied the 14th and was back in the tournament. Still 2 behind with 2 to go Morikawa birdied and 17th and Thomas bogeyed the 18th and the tournament was heading into a playoff.
In the first playoff hole which was the 18th, Thomas with a 50 foot birdie putt tried to lag one to the hole but goes one better and holes it for birdie. Morikawa himself had a 24 foot birdie putt from above the hole, knowing that he needed to hole it to continue the playoff drains his for birdie as well and the extra holes continue. They both go back and par the 18th hole again which then moved the playoff over the 10th hole.
“I mean, I figured I just had to make it,” Morikawa said. “Obviously I wanted to put in really good speed, but it didn’t really change much, other than if I missed, we’re done. It’s all over. I had my caddie come in, read the putt with me. We agreed on a line, hit it perfect exactly how we wanted, and really helped that J.T. had that putt about halfway in between during regulation. So I kind of knew what it did at the end. So as long as I got my line started on there, we had a good shot at making it.”
Thomas found trouble off the tee and got stuck behind a tree which his only option was to chip out. Morikawa found the green in regulation and when Thomas failed to get up and down for par, Morikawa had a simple 2 putt for victory.
“This is a huge kind of steppingstone,” he said. “We got No. 1 out of the way, we got No. 2, let the gates just open and let’s just keep going because obviously it was a tough loss at Colonial a month ago, but I learned a lot. I learned a lot from last week or a week and a half ago after my missed cut. This is just more positives, more learning for me, and I’ve got to go back to, ‘OK, what did I do great, what did I do wrong this week, how can I get better, move on to next week and make a lot of birdies.'”
“Throughout the playoff, I got a lot more comfortable, especially after that playoff in Colonial,” he said. “I felt a lot more comfortable now, but I felt way more comfortable after making that birdie putt on the first playoff hole. That was huge. I had to make it after he made it.”