PGA: Morikawa wins Reno’s Barracuda with blazing finish
Collin Morikawa has been red-hot this summer. Coming off fourth and second place finishes in his last two events earlier this month, Morikawa had earned enough money on Tour via sponsor exemptions and high finishes to secure a spot on the PGA Tour next year.
The recent Cal Berkeley grad took things to a new level Sunday at Montreux Golf & Country Club, scoring birdies on four of the final five holes to win the Barracuda Championship for his first career PGA Tour victory in just his eighth start.
“I’m going to keep pushing myself and keep setting new goals. But the way I looked at this summer was these are opportunities I’m getting — you know, thankful to these tournament directors and tournament boards for giving me these starts,” Morikawa said.
Morikawa has made the most of those opportunities. In the six events he’s teed it up in since June, Morikawa has made every cut, finished no worse than 36th, and including the $630,000 winners check from the Barracuda has made a cool $1,042,904. Graduate from college and earn a million dollars over the summer? Check.
Morikawa’s +47 point total edged third round leader Troy Merritt by three points. The tournament used the Stableford scoring system. Merritt had an eagle chip opportunity from short of the 18th green for five points and the victory but narrowly missed.
“I knew we had to make the chip. And a par wasn’t going to hurt us. So we gave it our best effort. I don’t know if it would have gone, even if it hit the stick, it had a little bit of speed. But gave it a chance,” Merritt said.
Merritt held his lead for much of the day but failed to register a point on any of the par 5s. Despite posting a bogey-free final round, his four birdies weren’t enough to hold off a charging Morikawa.
Second-round leader Robert Streb’s story was much the same. He struggled on the greens Sunday, highlighted by a glorious chance +5 points and the outright lead at the par five 13th hole. Streb misread the speed on his eagle putt, leaving him 4 feet on the comebacker, which he also missed. The resulting par seemed to take the wind out his sails as he failed to gain a point the rest of the way.
“I was honestly just trying to make sure I got the 2 (points), hopefully make the 5 (points), and it got away from me. I had a lot of trouble on those greens,” Streb said.
Collin Morikawa will try and keep his remarkable summer going this week at the Wyndham Championship, and then the Northern Trust Open, the first event of the FedExCup Playoffs.
“This win means everything to me, and to get into the (FedExCup) playoffs is something special,” he said.
Notes: Roberto Diaz (T18/+32) led the field in the final round with +16 points. … First round leader Tom Hoge finished T6 with +38 points. … John Chin used bookend scores of +9/+11/+11/+9 to finish T3 with +40 points. … 2017 Barracuda champion Chris Stroud finished T15 with +33 points. … John Daly finished in 69th place with +10 points. …The 2020 Barracuda Championship moves up two weeks on the PGA Tour schedule to July 2-5 and will again be opposite a WGC event. The tournament will be held two weeks prior to the Open Championship at Royal St Georges in England.
ABOUT Michael Smyth
Michael Smyth moved to Reno in 2007 after living more than 40 years in the Bay Area. In addition to going to live shows, he enjoys golf, skiing and fly-fishing. Check out his website https://michaelsmythmedia.com/