Collin Morikawa is the leader in the clubhouse after his first round at the Sony Open.
Morikawa shot a bogey-free five under round on Thursday at Waialae Country Club. The recent Cal grad is playing in his first full-season on the PGA Tour. He played with Patrick Reed and Brandt Snedeker in round one.
“Playing with Brandt and Patrick, a lot of people are rooting them on. Being with family makes it a little bigger gallery,” said Morikawa after his round. “For a first round for me, it’s pretty good. I enjoy it.”
Morikawa’s grandparents used own a restaurant on Maui. He grew up coming to Hawaii as a kid. Currently, he has aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandparents living on Oahu.
“The amount of times I’ve been to Hawaii as a little kid, I didn’t really play that much golf,” Morikawa said. “Because I was here to do other things like swim in the ocean.”
Morikawa had good-sized groups on Maui last week at the Sentry Tournament of Champions. That trend will surely continue this week.
“It’s nice to have them around,” Morikawa said. “It just feels relaxed. That’s a good thing. You always want to feel more relaxed. But you gotta focus. I caught myself midway, maybe like 12 holes in today, when I just got a little too easy. I was a little too relaxed.”
Morikawa found the sand with his tee shot on the par five 18th. And compounded problems by whacking his next shot into the lip of the bunker.
“Bad swing. It happens,” smiled Morikawa.
But the 22 year old pumped a 180 yard draw into the wind with a four iron to under six feet on the 18th green. He sank the putt to cap off a 65.
Morikawa leads the tournament by two strokes. His was the only round of the day without a bogey. Morikawa tees off at 12:40pm on Friday.
Matt Jones, Ted Potter jr, Ryan Palmer, and Sam Ryder hold a share of second place at three under par.
Defending champion Matt Kuchar shot a one under 69. His second birdie of the round came on the 18th hole.
Last week’s Sentry Tournament of Champions winner Justin Thomas struggled early, with three bogeys in the first five holes. The 2017 Sony Open champion finished round one at two over par.
The tournament continues round two on Friday.