Collin Morikawa focused on DP World Tour Championship as he closes in on Race to Dubai

World No 2 aiming to become the first American to clinch European Tour Order of Merit

A solitary round from creating history, Collin Morikawa stuck to the same line on Saturday as he has all week.

As well he should. The world No 2 came into this week’s DP World Tour Championship at the head of the Race to Dubai standings and, through three days of the European Tour's season finale, has never looked like letting it slip.

On Saturday, when out on the Earth Course with fan favourite Rory McIlory, Morikawa carded a 3-under-par 69 courtesy of a trio of birdies on the front nine to climb to 11-under. As it stands, he sits in a four-way tie for fifth, three off tournament leader McIlroy.

In the great Race, though, Morikawa appears champion-in-waiting. Of the other five players in contention heading into this week, Matt Fitzpatrick is currently closest, and he’s three shots back. Tyrrell Hatton and Paul Casey are one more worse off, on 7-under. All three need to win and hope Morikawa melts away.

Meanwhile, Billy Horschel, second in the seasonal list at the start of Thursday, is some way behind, on 3-under.

So, bar a surprising and dramatic loss of form, Morikawa will conclude Sunday as the first American to seal the circuit’s Order of Merit. Not that the reigning Open champion, a two-time major winner at age 24, is thinking about that right now.

“I can think about it after tomorrow,” Morikawa said.

Asked then if, even given his healthy “cushion”, he still keeps an eye on how his Race rivals are doing at Jumeirah Golf Estates, he replied: “I wouldn’t call it a cushion. Like I’ve said, I’m focused on winning this tournament.

“If I start worrying about who I need to beat I’m just going to end up right around them and who knows what they’re going to shoot. Trying to win tomorrow – that’s all I can think about."

Morikawa, who finished tied-10th on debut in the event last year, described his play on Saturday as “all over the place”, pretty much because he failed to pick up any shots on the four par-5s. He returned a quartet of pars.

“All three days have kind of been a little bit of this, a little bit of that,” he said. “Got one more day to kind of put everything together and hopefully put a low one out there.

“Whether it's three or four shots back, I'm still in it. Hopefully I can get off to a good start like I have been the previous few days. It's that middle stretch where I have not made any birdies: 10, 11, short-wedge holes, and I think I'm even par.

"I have to take advantage of those tomorrow and hopefully keep the round going and at least start it on a good note.”

Updated: November 20th 2021, 2:09 PM
EDITOR'S PICKS
NEWSLETTERS