Jan. 7—After his first winless year in four years on the PGA Tour, Collin Morikawa hasn't shied away from asking for help.
KAPALUA, Maui—After his first winless year in four years on the PGA Tour, Collin Morikawa hasn't shied away from asking for help.
His willingness to listen to others is already paying dividends in 2023, as the 25-year-old followed up an opening-round 64 with a 7-under 66 to take a two-shot lead over World No. 2 Scottie Scheffler and J.J. Spaun at the midway point of the Sentry Tournament of Champions on Friday.
Morikawa made seven birdies and played bogey-free golf to stay on top of a stacked leaderboard. He's the fifth player to post 16 under or better after two rounds in the 25-year history of the TOC at Kapalua. The previous four golfers all went on to win the event.
"Today, to be honest, I didn't feel my speed was as good as yesterday, " Morikawa said. "That just shows the work. I'm not asking for results immediately. I think (the goal ) is to bring a kind of consistency throughout the year."
The two-time major champion said Thursday he's worked with multiple people to help all aspects of his game, including Punahou alum Parker McLachlin to assist with his short game.
Through two rounds, he's hit nearly 90 percent of greens in regulation and has been very good with the putter, leading the field in strokes gained putting.
"I worked with all three coaches within a week of showing up here, " Morikawa said. "We work on a lot of things. Long sessions—a lot of talking—but it simplifies so much."—RELATED :
The wind picked up on Friday to make things a bit more challenging, but it didn't slow down Morikawa, who got off to a hot start with birdies on four of his first five holes.
He added three more birdies on the back nine, including a 30-foot putt on No. 10 that went in.
"Putting has been really fun because now I'm excited to have my putter out and I'm excited to putt, " Morikawa said. "I'm just kind of free on the golf course. Just not worrying about much, just going out and putting, and I think that's what some of the best putters say. They just go out and hit the putt and know it's in."
Jon Rahm, who was one of three golfers tied for the lead after the first round, bogeyed his first two holes and shot a 2-under 71 to drop five back of the lead in a tie for sixth.
Jordan Spieth, who birdied three of his final five holes in his opening round, made eagles on Nos. 5 and 15 and is three back of the lead after shooting a 66 to get to 13 under.
He won the event in 2016.
"Kind of what I did well the last two days was take advantage of the par-5s and then felt like I hit really good shots on the par-3s, " Spieth said. "There's only a couple of'em, but you got to hit some nice ones there."
Spieth birdied the par-3 eighth with a 10-foot putt to get to 3 under in his round.
He nearly holed out for an albatross on the par-5 fifth when he hit his second shot from 191 yards to about a foot.
His eagle on No. 15 came when he made a 9-foot putt after sticking his second shot close from 239 yards.
Spieth would be even closer to the lead if not for two missed putts inside of 5 feet in his first two rounds.
"Out here you get quite a few (putts ) inside of 5 feet (and ) I think that you'll miss more here than other places just on under-reading and under-hitting it with not enough speed, " Spieth said. "If I hit a really bad, tentative stroke on it, then it really pisses me off. But when I put a good stroke on it, it's like, all right, I can move on. And today that was the case."
Scheffler, who hit all 18 greens in regulation in his first round, made nine birdies and two bogeys to shoot 66 to stay within two shots of the lead.
He's looking for his first win since beating Rory McIlory by three shots at the 2022 Masters.
"I think I was just giving myself a lot of looks, opportunities, " Scheffler said. "I made a few mistakes that were frustrating, but I did a good job of staying patient and just kind of kept plucking along."
Today's third round will start two hours earlier than the first round, with the leaders expected to finish after 3 p.m.
Morikawa and Scheffler will be in the final group teeing off at 10 :45 a.m. Morikawa is the only golfer in the field who hasn't made a bogey.