LOS ANGELES (AFP) – Collin Morikawa shot a 66 to grab a three-stroke clubhouse lead on Friday at the PGA’s Workday Charity Open where they were playing catch-up all day after being hit by rain storms.
Morikawa followed up his first round seven-under 65 with a six-under second round on Friday to reach a 13-under 131 total and a lead over Kevin Streelman and Justin Thomas in Dublin, Ohio.
“The game feels good from top to bottom, whether it’s off the tee, putting, approach shots,” he said.
Rain, wind and lightning led to two play suspensions that lasted over an hour each at the Muirfield Village Golf Club course.
Morikawa showed he is back by rolling in nine birdies on the course that will double as the venue for next week’s Memorial Tournament.
“It’s obviously nice to hit some approach shots, hit my cut that I just hadn’t had the past couple weeks. So it’s good to be back, and we’ve got two more days of the same thing,” said the 23-year-old American.
Morikawa is coming off his first missed cut since turning pro last summer when he failed to get into weekend play at last month’s Travelers Championship.
He tied for ninth at the last event before the Tour shutdown because of the global pandemic.
Thomas and Streelman were in second after completing their rounds with a six-under 66 and an eight-under 64.
Sam Burns and Hideki Matsuyama shot 66 and 68 and are tied for fourth at nine under, four strokes back of Morikawa.
South African-born Rory Sabbatini was at eight under with one hole to play.
Thomas had two birdies in his four holes then drained his sixth and final birdie of the day on No 18.
“Nothing is hidden out here,” he said. “It’s all right in front of you. You just have to go out and get it.
“I knew we had three days left, now it’s two days left, so there’s no reason to try to set a certain goal. Just try to make as many birdies as I can.”
Thomas has three victories in his past 14 worldwide starts dating back to the BMW Championship in last year’s playoffs.
The Workday Open this week became the first PGA tournament to lump its coronavirus positive players into the same grouping.
South Africa’s Dylan Frittelli and Americans Denny McCarthy and Nick Watney were each playing for the first time since testing positive and were grouped together out of an “abundance of caution,” said tournament officials.
Watney was five over with four holes to play and Frittelli was four over but McCarthy is hoping to make the cut after being one over through 14.
The three stay in their own bubble. They have limited access to the clubhouse or training facilities and are being isolated in a vacant area under the old pro shop at the Ohio-based tournament.
PGA is allowing a return to competition for players and caddies who continue to test positive for coronavirus if at least 10 days have passed since the symptoms first appeared and 72 hours have passed since fever has disappeared.