by Fatiha Betcher, Bahamas
Double major winning Collin Morikawa is now just two rounds shy of ending the year as World No. 1 after moving into a share of second place on day two of the Hero World Challenge here in the Bahamas.
Morikawa, 24, posted six-under par 66 to be sharing second place with fellow Americans Tony Finnau (66) and Brooks Koepka (67) at 1o-under par.
The trio along with the other 16 players in the $US 3.5m Bahamas field are chasing Bryson DeChambeau who, despite a 16th hole double-bogey when he drove his tee shot into bushes, signed for an eight-under par 64 to head the field by a shot at 20-under.
And while DeChambeau chose not to speak to the written media, Morikawa again displayed his enormous respect for the needs of the not only two TV networks present but also the written media as he returned to the ‘flash area’ located right outside for the scorer’s hut to speak of his round.
“You know, when I put myself in the fairway, I was converting, I was making the birdies when I needed to,” he said. “Still felt like the driver’s a little off, but that’s just something, you know, get timing a little bit better tomorrow and the next day and we’ll be just fine. So it was kind of like an up-and-down day, hit some really good shots in that middle back end of the round where I went birdie-birdie-eagle and just got to use that momentum for tomorrow”.
The reigning Open Champion arrived in the Bahamas having become the first American to win the European Tour’s Race to Dubai title and now in his very next event a victory on the Albany course would send him to the top of the World Rankings.
If so, Morikawa would become just the fourth player to reach World No. 1 before turning 25, joining Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Jordan Spieth. Morikawa turns 25 on Feb. 6, 2022.
Morikawa has made just 60 starts as a pro in events offering world-ranking points. Tiger Woods was the quickest to reach No. 1, doing so in just 21 pro starts. Jordan Spieth is currently second on the list, needing 77 starts to reach No. 1.
“I think I became aware I could end the year as number one right before the Race to Dubai, @Nosferatu on Twitter posted a bunch of things that we all follow,” he said.
“I think you see — I saw what happened, I saw the scenarios. And I’m going to keep saying it, that I just have to focus on trying to win this week and if I do, I know it’s going to happen.”
And in arriving to the Hero World Challenge in winning the Race to Dubai he was asked if he felt he was playing better after two rounds at the DP World Tour Championship or better through two days in the Bahamas.
“To be honest, I don’t even know how I played the first two rounds in Dubai,” he said. “I think I’m playing similar. Like nothing’s sticking out, but nothing’s worrisome. So when it comes to that, I think it’s — I’ve made some putts. The putting feels good, which is great. I’ve just got to keep that up and just hit some good shots and get it in the fairways a little more often for these last two days”.
Unlike Morikawa, there were no media requests for Rory McIlroy who struggled with a 71 to be sharing eighth place at seven under par.