Collin Morikawa wins Zozo Championship, ends 27-month winless streak

Associated PressOct 22, 2023, 05:26 AM ET3 Minute Read

INZAI CITY, Japan — Collin Morikawa, an American golfer whose great grandparents emigrated from Japan, described his victory at the Zozo Championship as “incredible.” This win holds even more significance for Morikawa, as it marks the end of a 27-month winless streak on the PGA Tour that had raised concerns about his performance.

Morikawa clinched the victory at the Narashino Country Club, located just outside Tokyo, with an impressive 7-under par 63. Speaking about the win, Morikawa expressed his elation, saying, “It feels so good, I can’t even explain it. I knew I would get here eventually. It’s like experiencing your first win and major championship all over again.”

The golfer revealed that he had been aware of the questions surrounding his winless streak, which motivated him to push harder. Morikawa also mentioned that having his wife, Katherine Zhu, in attendance made the victory even sweeter, as she hadn’t been present for their previous wins. He expressed gratitude for her support and the opportunity to have her by his side during the tournament.

In terms of his game, Morikawa admitted that he hadn’t made significant changes but acknowledged the mental challenges of dealing with losses. Reflecting on his journey, he shared, “I had to take a step back and analyze what was going wrong. Why was I consistently finishing in second place instead of winning? This win means the world to me, especially given my Japanese heritage and the experiences of the past week.”

Americans Beau Hossler and Eric Cole finished in second place, trailing Morikawa by six strokes after posting closing-round scores of 70.

During his time in Japan, Morikawa and his wife made the most of their visit, exploring the culinary delights of Tokyo. He mentioned that they spent four full days solely dedicated to indulging in the diverse range of Japanese cuisine available in the city. Morikawa’s connection to Japan may be distant, but local fans have embraced him as one of their own. Despite the language barrier and his mother’s roots in Hong Kong, Morikawa felt the love and support from the Japanese fans.

Starting the final round two shots behind 54-hole leader Justin Suh, Morikawa showcased his prowess on the course. He secured four birdies on the front nine and carried his momentum, consistently hitting fairways and adding three more birdies on the back nine. A pivotal moment occurred on the 18th hole when Morikawa sunk a 10-foot putt, further solidifying his lead.

Recognized as one of golf’s most-watched players, Morikana’s exceptional iron play has made him a formidable competitor. While he had a number of opportunities to win in recent times, it was his determination and the unwavering support of his caddie, J.J. Jakovac, that propelled him to victory. Morikawa’s last PGA Tour triumph came at the 2021 Open, and he followed it up by becoming the first American to finish as the European Tour’s No. 1 player in the DP World Tour Championship.

Morikawa’s triumph at the Zozo Championship marks a triumphant end to his “two-year drought.” He credited his caddie as not just a friend, but also a mentor and someone he deeply respects. Morikawa emphasized the essential role Jakovac played and expressed gratitude for his unwavering support throughout the ups and downs of his career.


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