On the 13th hole of the 21st Annual Barracuda Championship in Reno, former La Cañada High golf standout Collin Morikawa carded a disappointing 5 that left him in third place in the final round of the competition.
Though the 22-year-old birdied just three times prior to the final round of the tournament, Morikawa regrouped over the final five holes with four birdies to finish with a 22-under 266 and clinch his first PGA Tour crown at the high-altitude course on Sunday.
“I just wasn’t trusting myself,” Morikawa told PGATour.com. “I wasn’t taking my usual tempo, just got a little out of rhythm. When I got to the 14th tee, I … told myself, okay, we’ve got a lot of left, a lot of birdies, I’ve made a lot of birdies on these holes, just keep it going.”
Morikawa previously tied for second July 7 at the inaugural 3M Open at TPC Twin Cities in Blaine, Minn., a PGA Tour event. Morikawa fired a 20-under-par 264 to tie with Bryson DeChambeau in the four-day competition. He shot a three-under-par 68 to start the event before carding a 66, 64 and 66 to close the tournament.
The four-time All-Area Boys’ Golfer of the Year carded rounds of 66, 69, 66 and 65 throughout the tournament for his first professional championship.
Morikawa, who helped the Spartans win four Rio Hondo League championships, is the fourth consecutive player to win the tournament competition and claim a first PGA Tour event.
“His ball striking is so good. He’s basically a robot. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen him hit a bad shot,” fellow University of California alum Max Homa, the winner of this year’s Wells Fargo Championship, told PGATour.com.
It was Morikawa’s third straight top-four finish in professional competition.
“I think I’m ready. This proves that I am ready,” Morikawa told PGATour.com. “To get this first win off my back means a lot. It’s going to open just a lot more confidence and doors for me.”
Morikawa recently graduated from California, where he capped his collegiate golfing career with a PAC-12 Conference individual title after shooting a12-under-par 272 in April.
He was the fourth Golden Bear to win a conference individual title and first since 2013. Cal finished third in the team competition behind winner Stanford and runner-up UCLA.