Golf-Morikawa in PGA contention after five straight birdies

By Thomson Reuters May 17, 2024 | 3:31 PM

(Reuters) – Five birdies in a row put American Collin Morikawa in good position heading into PGA Championship weekend, as the former winner harnessed a red-hot putter to card a six-under par second-round 65 in Louisville, Kentucky on Friday.

Morikawa ended the day 11-under, one shot off the record for a PGA Championship through 36 holes and exactly the start he wanted.

“I know I still have it in me, and that’s what’s exciting,” he told reporters. “I knew I had three more majors coming up (after Augusta) and to prep for that and get things as sharp as possible and just come out strong. It’s obviously nice to get off to this start.”

Four shots first-round leader Xander Schauffele overnight, the 2020 champion coped with the rain-soaked conditions at Valhalla Golf Club to get birdies at the 13th and 18th holes.

He made the first of five straight birdies on the par-four fourth before a bogey on his final hole.

“The little five-run birdie was me just playing solid golf, and sometimes when the putts drop, that’s what happened,” he said. “But for the most part, that’s the kind of golf I’m going to ask for myself over the next two days.”

The 2021 British Open winner had to collect himself quickly as his day did not start the way he had wanted, after a disappointing range session.

“I just was kind of coming out of it and the drives were missing a little right,” he said. “I saw it on the first tee shot on 10 today, and really the first one I had to hit well was 15, and just kind of tweaked a little something in the setup, and it worked for the most part.”

(Reporting by Amy Tennery in New York, editing by Ed Osmond)