Morikawa earns early lead at storm-hit Memorial Tournament

By Sports Desk June 03, 2021

Collin Morikawa carded a six-under-par 66 to claim a one-stroke lead before bad weather halted the opening round of the Memorial Tournament.

Thunderstorms forced a weather-hit day one to be suspended at Muirfield Village, where Morikawa managed to set the early pace before play was stopped on Thursday.

Morikawa – last year's US PGA Championship winner – was almost flawless in Dublin, Ohio after holing seven birdies and just one bogey.

A run of three consecutive birdies and four in five to start his back nine sent Morikawa to the top of the leaderboard, just ahead of fellow American Adam Long.

"It was definitely the rain," Morikawa 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.

Bo Hoag, Nick Taylor, Xander Schauffele and Rafa Cabrera Bello also completed their rounds and ended the day two strokes off the pace, while defending champion Jon Rahm, Justin Thomas and Rickie Fowler are among a group a shot further back at three under.

Reigning U.S. Open champion and 2018 Memorial Tournament winner Bryson DeChambeau – gearing up for his upcoming title defence at Torrey Pines Golf Course in San Diego this month – was two under through three holes at the time of the suspension.

Former world number one Jordan Spieth also completed three holes – one under – when play was called off, while Masters champion Hideki Matsuyama, who won the PGA Tour event in 2014, did complete his round following a one-over-par 73.

Four-time major champion Rory McIlroy will return to finish his round early on Friday after going one over through two holes in wet conditions.

Related items

  • 'I just wanted to spank you' – Koepka takes down rival DeChambeau in The Match 'I just wanted to spank you' – Koepka takes down rival DeChambeau in The Match

    Brooks Koepka earned bragging rights in his feud with Bryson DeChambeau after besting his PGA Tour foe in the latest edition of 'The Match'.

    Koepka and DeChambeau have been at loggerheads on the PGA Tour, tensions high since 2019 when the former called out the latter for slow play.

    DeChambeau responded by taking aim at fellow American Koepka's physique in 2020.

    The pair came together to help the United States to a record-setting Ryder Cup triumph over Europe in September, but they renewed their rivalry in Las Vegas on Friday.

    In a 12-hole exhibition showdown at Wynn Golf Club, four-time major champion Koepka celebrated a 4 and 3 victory in the match for charity.

    "Not going to lie, I just wanted to spank you," Koepka told 2020 U.S. Open winner DeChambeau upon clinching victory on the ninth hole.

    "I haven't played in two months," DeChambeau told TNT. "No excuses, though. I should have done better."

    Mid-match, DeChambeau asked Koepka rhetorically: "Where is this on the PGA Tour? You're playing so good right now".

    "It's kind of like my major right now, right?" Koepka replied.

    Afterwards, Koepka said: "Obviously, watching him up close and personal is pretty neat, pretty special to watch him hit the ball.

    "Like I said, there is respect there, but at the same time it was fun to come out here and settle this." 

    DeChambeau added: "I've always had respect for Brooks. He's won four major championships and what he's done for the game.

    "At the end of the day it was 12 holes and he got me. So, hopefully, there will be a rematch sometime soon." 

  • Joburg Open golf stars abandon European Tour event amid COVID travel concerns Joburg Open golf stars abandon European Tour event amid COVID travel concerns

    Sixteen golfers from the United Kingdom and Ireland withdrew from the Joburg Open on Friday as strict new rules affecting travellers from South Africa came into effect.

    The emergence of a new COVID-19 variant in South Africa has led the UK government to implement a sudden change to its rules for arrivals, taking effect from midday on Friday.

    It has declared that British nationals arriving before Sunday morning after a stay in South Africa – as well as Botswana, Lesotho, Eswatini, Zimbabwe and Namibia – must self-isolate at home for 10 days and take two PCR tests in that time.

    All such travellers arriving in England from 04:00 GMT on Sunday will be required to go into a hotel quarantine facility for 10 days.

    Flights to the UK from the newly red-listed countries were being suspended.

    It was no coincidence that the European Tour event in Johannesburg saw a rash of withdrawals, with players looking to get home.

    Those who pulled out were England's Steven Brown, Oliver Fisher, Matt Ford, David Howell, Matthew Jordan, Richard McEvoy, Graeme Storm and Andrew Wilson, Scotland's Craig Howie, Liam Johnston and Richie Ramsay, Wales' Oliver Farr, Northern Ireland's Jonathan Caldwell and Cormac Sharvin and Ireland's Paul Dunne and Niall Kearney.

    Johnston posted on Twitter a version of a poster for the Meryl Streep film Out Of Africa, with his face superimposed in place of Robert Redford's. Sharvin replied: "Too good."

    UK health secretary Sajid Javid said of the new measures: "We are taking precautionary action to protect public health and the progress of our vaccine rollout at a critical moment as we enter winter, and we are monitoring the situation closely."

  • Gooch breaks through for first PGA Tour win at RSM Classic Gooch breaks through for first PGA Tour win at RSM Classic

    Talor Gooch enjoyed a memorable day after winning the RSM Classic for his first PGA Tour title.

    It was a "dream come true" for American Gooch, who closed with a six-under-par 64 to seal a three-shot victory in Georgia on Sunday.

    Gooch earned his maiden PGA Tour trophy in his 104th start – the 30-year-old becoming the second first-time winner on tour this season, joining Lucas Herbert (Bermuda Championship).

    A one-time winner on the Web.com Tour in 2017, Gooch tied the RSM Classic 72-hole scoring record of 22 under (Kevin Kisner 2015) after ending the final round bogey free at Sea Island Golf Club.

    "To finish the fall season off like I just did, it's a dream come true," said Gooch, who finished the tournament on a streak of 26 consecutive holes without a bogey.

    "This gets me into some tournaments I wasn't into. But I want to get to the TOUR Championship and this puts me a little bit ahead of the ballgame for that journey. The goal is to win the TOUR Championship."

    Canada's Mackenzie Hughes finished runner-up to Gooch following his eight-under-par 62, while Colombian Sebastian Munoz (65) was a stroke further back at 18 under.

    Tyler McCumber (60), Cameron Smith (64), Tom Hoge (67) and Seamus Power (68) shared fourth position, seven shots behind Gooch.

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.