Genesis Invitational

Riviera Country Club

Sunday stumble

Here's who Collin Morikawa joined as the ninth player in PGA Tour history to lose a six-shot final-round lead

January 08, 2023

Stephen Szurlej

Collin Morikawa looked like he was cruising to victory through 67 holes at the Sentry Tournament of Champions, not once making a bogey at Kapalua’s Plantation Course. While his original six-shot lead to start the day had shrunk by two, he still seemed in total command as he attempted to win his first PGA Tour title since the 2021 Open Championship. Yet instead of walking off the winner five holes later in the PGA Tour’s first-ever “elevated” event, the 25-year-old found himself shockingly part of a fraternity he would just assume never have joined.

With bogeys on the Nos. 14, 15 and 16—making him the only player in the entire field to bogey those three holes in succession during any round—Morikawa stumbled to a closing 72. Simultaneously, the hard-charging Jon Rahm overcame an opening-hole bogey with nine birdies and an eagle to overtake him on the leaderboard and grab the title by two strokes.

Six shots is the largest 54-hole lead ever blown in a PGA Tour event, an “accomplishment” that eight other players have previously “achieved.” Asked his feelings after the final round, and Morikawa’s answer was simple and obvious: “Sadness. I don't know. It sucks. You work so hard and you give yourself these opportunities and just bad timing on bad shots and kind of added up really quickly.”

A natural question after the round for Morikawa was whether he felt that he had lost the tournament down the stretch or whether Rahm had won it.

“A little bit of both. I mean one under [72] on this course is not a good score. It really isn't. … He still shot 63. But I still, you know, I still had it within reach. If I don't make those bogeys and I make par, we're right there.

“So he definitely made the birdies when he needed to. But I also made bogeys. When you're getting bogeys at that time of the tournament they're costly. I definitely felt the weight of that.

Who else could empathize with Morikawa? Here is the list of the eight other players who also blew six-shot leads on tour:

• Bobby Cruickshank, 1928 Florida Open (final-round 80)

• Gay Brewer, 1969 Danny Thomas-Diplomat Classic (73)

• Hal Sutton, 1983 Anheuser-Busch Classic (77)

• Greg Norman, 1996 Masters (78)

• Sergio Garcia, 2005 Wachovia Championship (72)

• Spencer Levin, 2012 WM Phoenix Open (75)

• Dustin Johnson, 2017 WGC-HSBC Champions (77)

• Scottie Scheffler, 2022 Tour Championship (73*)

* Scheffler started the tournament with a two-shot lead due to the Tour Championship’s staggered start format.