Bogey-free Morikawa takes 2-shot lead at TOC

Bogey-free Morikawa takes 2-shot lead at TOC

KAPALUA, Hawaii — Winless last year for the first time in his young career, Collin Morikawa is playing as though he wants to put that behind him quickly.

Morikawa was dialed in with his irons early and took advantage of some of the scoring holes late in his second round Friday for a 7-under 66 that gave him a two-shot lead in the Sentry Tournament of Champions.

He was at 16-under 130 and without a bogey over two rounds on the Plantation Course at Kapalua.

Masters champion Scottie Scheffler had a good laugh on the first tee with U.S. Open champion Matt Fitzpatrick and then ran off nine birdies in his round of 66, leaving him two shots behind along with Kapalua newcomer J.J. Spaun (68).

Scheffler can return to No. 1 in the world this week with a two-way tie for third at better, with Rory McIlroy choosing to sit out this week.

Jordan Spieth had two eagles — one a 7-iron that came inches away from an albatross on the par-5 fifth hole — and had a 66. He was three shots behind.

Morikawa ordinarily wouldn’t be at Kapalua for the winners-only start to the year. But in this new year of trying to bring together the top plays more often, the PGA Tour expanded the field from exclusively winners in 2022 to include those who reached the FedEx Cup finale at East Lake.

Morikawa shared the 18-hole lead by running off six straight birdies to start the back nine. On a gorgeous Friday afternoon on Maui with a little more wind, he did most of his damage early. It started with a 20-foot birdie putt on the opening hole, followed by short irons to 3 feet and 8 feet.

From there, everyone else did well to keep pace.

Scheffler was introduced on the first tee with a mention of all four of his wins last year, from the WM Phoenix Open to the Masters. Next up was Fitzpatrick, who beat Scheffler by one shot at Brookline. He was introduced as the U.S. Open champion.

“You don’t have that one,” Fitzpatrick said as they laughed.

Scoring remained low enough that only two players were over par — Billy Horschel (71) and Chad Ramey (76) were 2 over.

Morikawa had a chance to tie the 36-hole scoring record that Cameron Smith set last year at 17-under 129. He was just off the front of the 18th green when he muffed his chip and saw it run out to only 30 feet, and his long birdie putt banged off the lip.

No matter. He was still in the lead, his first time with at least a share of the 36-hole lead since the U.S. Open last summer.

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