String of pars weren’t enough for Collin Morikawa as others shot birdies at PGA Championship

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Collin Morikawa made 14 straight pars to start his final round at the PGA Championship on Sunday.

It didn’t take complex math to figure out which direction that would send him on another low-scoring day at Valhalla Golf Club.

Morikawa came into the final round tied with Xander Schauffele for the lead. Schauffele made his seventh birdie of the day on the 18th green to shoot 6-under 65 and set the major scoring record at 21 under. Morikawa made his first birdie on 18 and ended in a disappointing tie for fourth.

For the second straight major, Morikawa played in the final group. Both times — at the Masters against Scottie Scheffler and at Valhalla against Schauffele — he lost the Sunday round by six.

“Everything,” Morikawa said when asked what went wrong.

He was particularly vexed by his putter, which put him in a tie for the lead after three rounds but froze when it counted most. His 34 putts were the most of anyone in the 78-man field for the final round.

“The putter kept me in this tournament, and it just disappeared today,” he said.

Morikawa stays stuck on two major championships — the PGA at Harding Park in 2020 and the British Open at Royal St. George’s a year later. He knows the difference between those final rounds and this one.

“To win a major championship, you’ve got to have your solid golf game,” Morikawa added. “People talk about winning with their ‘B’ game, ‘C’ game, ‘A’ game. I felt like even though I’ve been putting the results together, it still feels like I’m playing with a ‘C’ to ‘B’ game.”

While Morikawa was stringing together pars and staying at 15 under, Bryson DeChambeau, Viktor Hovland (18-under), Thomas Detry and even Justin Rose (briefly) leapfrogged him, all making runs at Schauffele. Morikawa knew he was quickly becoming a sideshow to the main act — which was Schauffele and his steady game.

“He knew what he had to make on (No.) 18, and that’s what great players do,” Morikawa said of Schauffele’s close-out birdie. “He was hitting the shots, he was making the putts.”

Morikawa stands eighth in FedEx Cup points and is encouraged to contend at majors, but he knows turning his game up a notch is necessary to close the deal with the U.S. Open and British Open ahead over the next two months. Shooting par is nice, but birdies and eagles earn victories.

“I think the way points are going and everything, we’re going to be just fine,” he said. “You just want to win. We’ve got two more majors. These first two have been disappointing, but there can still be a positive outlook. I’m going to have to just figure out how to be better.”


AP golf:

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