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Collin Morikawa Leads Zao Championship After Stellar First Round

Collin Morikawa Leads Zao Championship After Stellar First Round

Morikawa’s impressive 6-under 64 puts him at the top of the Zozo Championship leaderboard, hinting at the end of his title drought.

Collin Morikawa, whose last PGA Tour triumph came at the 2021 British Open, made an impressive statement with his opening round of 6-under 64 to seize the lead at the Zozo Championship. This performance suggests that the young American may be on the brink of ending his recent winless streak.

Notably, Mikumu Horikawa and Americans Ben Shelton and Eric Cole are hot on his heels, trailing by just a single stroke. The stage for this action-packed tournament is set at the Accordia Golf Narashino Country Club, located on the outskirts of Tokyo, marking the sole PGA Tour event in Japan.

Morikawa, who boasts Japanese heritage on his father’s side, though uncertain about his distant relatives in Japan, finds a special connection to this tournament. “There’s obviously a little bit more meaning to this tournament for me,” he said. “But look, a win’s a win, I’ll take a win anywhere, right. I’m doing everything I can over the next three days and tonight to make sure I give myself the best opportunity to do that.”

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Collin Morikawa Leads Zao Championship After Stellar First Round

Japanese player Horikawa humorously remarked on seeing a “kawa” (meaning river in Japanese) at the top of the leaderboard, only to discover it was Morikawa, not himself. “So oh, that’s not me,” Horikawa said. “Oh, I want to catch up with him.”

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Morikawa’s remarkable journey includes victories at the 2020 PGA Championship and the British Open, quickly catapulting him to international stardom. “It’s been nice,” he said. “We’ve kind of been able to travel over here and play golf to just learn a little bit more and kind of reconnect with the culture and essentially my history.”

During his stay in Tokyo, Morikawa dined at one of the city’s most famous sushi restaurants, Sukiyabashi Jiro. He expressed his deep appreciation, saying, “Man, I almost don’t want to have sushi again because it was that special. Chef Jiro was actually making the sushi for us, which made it even that much more special.”

The Zozo Championship’s roster features numerous connections to Japan, with players such as Xander Schauffele, Rickie Fowler, and Kurt Kitayama having unique ties to the country.

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