Collin Morikawa got back in the 2024 U.S. Open mix by posting a career day in this statistic

PINEHURST, N.C. — After a tough-to-swallow 74 pushed him closer to the cutline than the top of the leaderboard on Friday, Collin Morikawa rallied on Saturday to post an impressive 66 that had him within five shots of the leaders before they teed off.

How did he do it?

Whether it felt so or not, Morikawa used the best statistical putting day of his career in pulling back to even par for the 2024 U.S. Open at Pinehurst No. 2.

“I think I putted better at the Open, to be honest. The Open I made everything when I won in ’21,” he said of his victory at Royal St. George’s, the second major win of his career. “Numbers don’t lie. I’ll take that. I mean, look, after yesterday’s round, didn’t really do much. I just felt like they were getting really bumpy yesterday late in the day. They got a little crusty. Sometimes they just don’t fall. Today I just kind of made sure I stuck with everything that we’ve been working on.

“It was nice to see the first one go in and build off that.”

U.S. OPENTournament hub | Hole-by-hole | How to watch

Morikawa posted three birdies on the back nine and while many were struggling with the course’s dome greens, he seemed calm and comfortable. The former Cal star hasn’t won since capturing the Zozo Championship last October, but he’s been consistently in the mix, placing in the top 10 in five of his last seven starts, including a runner-up finish at the Memorial last week.

On Saturday he executed his plan to perfection in trying to get back into the conversation.

“I was trying to get to even,” Morikawa said. “You can’t be aggressive out here. I think if you’re aggressive, it can put you in really bad spots. You got to just kind of take your 30-footers. If you have a wedge, sometimes you’re able to go at pins. Didn’t play the par 5s as well as I have been. Look, you can’t play aggressive out here at all. You play aggressive to the right parts, you take what you can. If you get lucky, you get lucky.”

Now that he’s played his way back within striking distance, what is the game plan?

“To win,” he said definitively. “I mean, look, if I play the way I did today, who knows what could happen. This course is only going to get tougher. I know it’s not going to be easy.

“Today was not easy by any means. I just put it in the right spot, kept the ball in front of me, really just played very simple golf.”

Story originally appeared on GolfWeek