Morikawa edges out Thomas to win Workday Charity Open

By Sports Desk July 12, 2020

Collin Morikawa overcame Justin Thomas in a play-off to win the Workday Charity Open, his second title on the PGA Tour.

In just his 24th start as a professional, Morikawa capitalised on a late collapse by Thomas to join his fellow American in a share for top spot after 72 holes – the pair locked together at 19 under par.

There was nothing to split them when they twice played the 18th again, both managing an opening birdie before Thomas missed a putt for victory.

Having moved to the 10th, Thomas quickly found trouble off the tee and, forced to pitch out, handed the advantage to his rival. Morikawa duly seized the opportunity, collecting the par he needed to prevail at the third extra hole.

Former world number one Thomas had held a two-shot lead overnight having produced three bogey-free rounds at Muirfield Village.

While Thomas dropped shots at the second and third in a shaky start to his Sunday, a run of four birdies around the turn had the world number five back on track for victory.

An eagle at the 15th pushed Thomas three clear, yet he bogeyed two of his final three holes to sign for a score of 69, only enough to tie with Morikawa after the 23-year-old had risen up the leaderboard with his 66.

Viktor Hovland (71) finished alone on 15 under, his hopes for a late charge dashed by a one-over back nine, with Chase Seiffert (67) was a further shot back.

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    American golfer Steele – who lost a play-off at last year's tournament – posted a nine-under-par 61 to rise six positions to the top of the leaderboard in Honolulu on Saturday.

    A three-time Tour champion, Steele was flawless at Waialae Country Club, where he drained nine birdies, including his final two holes to be 18 under overall.

    Steele holds the outright 54-hole lead for the second consecutive season at the Sony Open in Hawaii. He could become the first player to lose a play-off and win the same event the following season since Ryuji Imada in 2008.

    Kevin Na (61) and Joaquin Niemann are Steele's nearest challengers heading into the final round of the tournament.

    Na equalled his career low-round, while the American is now tied with Brandt Snedeker and Justin Thomas for the most rounds (four) of 61 or better on Tour since 2014.

    Peter Malnati (64), Charley Hoffman (64), Russell Henley (65), Chris Kirk (65) and Stewart Cink (65) are three shots off the pace.

    Overnight leader and Canadian Nick Taylor, meanwhile, dropped down the leaderboard following his two-under-par 68.

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    The Canadian kick-started his second round with an eagle at the 18th hole – his ninth – before getting to 12 under at Waialae Country Club.

    Taylor was one under through eight holes in his round before chipping in for the eagle, and he picked up another five shots on the back nine.

    A two-time winner on the PGA Tour, Taylor is two shots clear of Stewart Cink (63), Webb Simpson (65), Russell Henley (64), Vaughn Taylor (66) and Chris Kirk (65).

    Henley is a former champion of the event, lifting the trophy in 2013, while Kirk was runner-up a year later.

    On what is a congested leaderboard, another eight players are just a shot further back.

    Joaquin Niemann (69) and Peter Malnati (69), who shared the overnight lead with Jason Kokrak (71), are among them, alongside Charley Hoffman (65), Collin Morikawa (65), Marc Leishman (65), Hideki Matsuyama (65), Billy Horschel (66) and Brendan Steele (66).

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    Horschel, meanwhile, is the only player in the field bogey-free through 36 holes. It is the third time in his PGA Tour career he has been bogey-free through two rounds.

    Defending champion Cameron Smith carded a four-under 66 to sit at seven under – in a tie for 19th in a group that includes Kokrak.

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    The Chilean carded an eight-under 62 at the Waialae Country Club on Thursday to lead alongside Peter Malnati and Jason Kokrak.

    Coming off a play-off loss to Harris English at the Tournament of Champions, Niemann's fine start to 2021 continued.

    The 22-year-old made seven birdies, a bogey and an eagle, the latter coming with a chip in at the 18th.

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    At the 17th, Kokrak almost produced a hole-in-one, only to see his shot lip out as he was forced to settle for a birdie.

    Vaughn Taylor, Jim Herman, Aaron Baddeley, Patton Kizzire, Daniel Berger and Kim Si-woo are two shots adrift of the leaders.

    The champion in 2018, Kizzire made a 45-foot eagle putt from off the green at the ninth, while Baddeley – runner-up in 2003 – is also in contention.

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    Defending champion Cameron Smith opened with a three-under 67 to be in a tie for 40th.

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