Collin Morikawa’s stumble came at the worst possible time at Kapalua.
Morikawa, despite holding a seven-shot lead at one point on Sunday in Hawaii, fell to Jon Rahm at the Sentry Tournament of Champions.
Morikawa carded three straight bogeys after making it through 67 holes without a single one while limping to the finish at the Plantation Course. Rahm, on the other hand, couldn’t be stopped.
Rahm, who started the round seven shots back and opened his day with a bogey, carded a 10-under 63 to take the two-stroke win.
“If you told me at the beginning of the round after that bogey I was going to do what I did and have a [two-shot] win, I wouldn’t believe you,” Rahm said on the Golf Channel.
— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) January 9, 2023
Morikawa led nearly the entire week in Hawaii, and flew ahead to a massive six stroke lead headed into the final round after posting an 8-under 65 on Saturday. He ended that round with four birdies in his final five holes, too.
Morikawa kept it moving on Sunday, where he opened with three birdies in his first six holes and pushed his lead to seven. The tournament felt over, and Morikawa rattled off seven straight pars into his back-nine. That, though, is where he finally carded his first bogey of the week.
Morikawa landed his drive in the bunker on the par-4 14th, and then sent his approach shot over the green en route to the bogey. While the mistake seemed minimal on its own, it came amid a wild surge from Rahm.
Rahm, after five birdies on the front, posted three straight birdies on the back before a huge eagle on the par-5 15th.
— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) January 8, 2023
That got him to 9-under on the day, which completely wiped away Morikawa’s lead. Morikawa then made a second-straight bogey on the 15th after chunking a chip near the green, which officially gave Rahm his first lead of the tournament.
From there, Rahm simply cruised to the finish with two more pars and a birdie at the last for good measure while Morikawa’s skid continued. He bogeyed again on the 16th before going 1-under on his final two holes to finish at 25-under on the week.
"I don't know, it sucks," Morikawa said. "You work so hard and you give yourself these opportunities, and just bad timing on bad shots and it kind of added up really quickly. I don't know what I'm going to learn from this week, but it just didn't seem like it was that far off ... Yeah, it sucks."
Collin Morikawa is pure class.
"For me I know there's still a lot of work to do. Obviously it shows today. But, you know, I'm willing to put in that work." pic.twitter.com/0w79owooxQ
— Golf on CBS ⛳ (@GolfonCBS) January 9, 2023
Rahm now has eight Tour wins to his name. Sunday’s marked his first since last season’s Mexico Open, and avenged last season’s second-place finish at the Sentry Tournament of Champions.
"You never want to see somebody have a bad day down the stretch. But I feel like with that lead he had I needed to play really good and he needed to make a couple mistakes," Rahm said.
"Last year I feel like I played an amazing tournament, I could have won it. To come back this year and shoot a very low score again, I mean, I'm what, 60-under par in these last two tournaments? It would have been tough to shoot that low twice and not win it. So I'm glad I had the chance and I'm glad I did it."
Morikawa, on the other hand, is still searching for his first win since the 2021 British Open.
"For me, I know there's still a lot of work to do," Morikawa said. "Obviously it shows today, but you know, I'm willing to put in that work. At this point now, hopefully it just pushes me more and more to really figure out what it's going to take for 72 holes."