Morikawa birdie blitz extends Hawaii lead

Collin Morikawa has seized on the stretch of scoring holes on the back nine at Kapalua to pull away from the field, making four birdies over his final five holes for an eight-under-par 65 and a six-shot lead in the PGA Tour's Tournament of Champions.

No one could keep up with Morikawa, a two-time major champion who went to a putting coach late last year and is seeing it start to pay off.

His newly rounded game makes for a frightening complement to his supreme iron play.

Morikawa was at a 24-under 195 after 54 holes, six shots clear of US Open champion Matt Fitzpatrick, Masters champion Scottie Scheffler and Texas Open winner JJ.Spaun.

"It's been pretty simple today," he said. "Over the past three days, where I've been looking is kind of where the ball's been going.

"I know what I'm doing right and when I hit a bad shot, what the mistake was. That's the biggest thing."

Scheffler, who along with Spaun started two shots behind, tried to keep up.

Their birdies dried up on the back nine, however, and Scheffler missed a four-foot birdie putt on the par-5 18th that at least could have put him in the final group. He had to settle for a 69.

Fitzpatrick had five birdies over his last seven holes in his round of 66 and will be in the final group for his first trip to Hawaii.

Spaun dropped two shots on the back nine, to finish with a 69.

Max Homa had no trouble with Kapalua, making a career-high 10 birdies for a 63 and wondering exactly how he did it.

"It didn't feel like I played four shots better than my last two days combined, but I did," he said.

"It's just not a very good game for your mind. But it was nice to shoot 10 under."

Jordan Spieth was three shots behind to start the third round and lost ground with three bogeys in his round of 71.

Everyone is chasing Morikawa, and it looks to be hopeless.

Only seven players in PGA Tour history have ever lost a six-shot lead going into the final round, most recently Dustin Johnson at the HSBC Champions in Shanghai in 2017.

Asked the last time he had a big lead, Morikawa smiled and mentioned the Hero World Challenge at the end of 2021, when he led by five only to shoot 76 and tie for fifth.

"It's OK," he said. "I'm over it."

Australia's sole representative, Adam Scott shot a third-round 72 to be tied 29th at nine under.