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Morikawa grabs early lead at storm-hit PGA Memorial
- Updated: June 4, 2021
WASHINGTON: Collin Morikawa, last year’s PGA Championship winner, fired a six-under par 66 to seize the early first-round lead Thursday (Jun 3) at the US PGA Memorial tournament before thunderstorms halted play.
The 24-year-old American, who shared eighth last month at Kiawah Island in defending his shocking major crown, fired seven birdies against a lone bogey to grab a one-stroke lead when competition was halted for lightning at Muirfield Village in Dublin, Ohio.
Morikawa, who began on the back nine, birdied the par-3 12th and followed with back-to-back birdies at 14 and the par-5 15th before stumbling with a bogey at the 18th.
He responded with birdies on the first three holes and another at the par-5 fifth, then closed with four pars to stand one stroke in front of compatriot Adam Long.
Morikawa, who won a Covid-19 replacement event at Muirfield Village last year the week before the Memorial, took advantage of the rain-softened course.
“It was definitely the rain,” he said. “The greens were soft enough and they’re receptive. But you have to hit the fairway. Out here, wet rough, it’s not going to help when the rough is pretty long.”
A pack on 68 included Canada’s Nick Taylor, Spain’s Rafa Cabrera Bello and Americans Xander Schauffele and Bo Hoag.
The last two threesomes had yet to tee off after two thunderstorms halted the opening round, the first lasting just under two hours.
American Matt Kuchar withdrew with a left forearm injury while Australian Jason Day pulled out before the round began with a back injury.
Morikawa was happy to see spectators after winning last year when they were banned.