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Las Vegan searches for breakthrough victory on PGA Tour

Collin Morikawa burst onto the golf scene in spectacular fashion, winning two major championships in his first three years as a pro and placing himself among the elite players in the game.

But the most recent seasons have been less rewarding for the Las Vegas golfer. He continues to post strong finishes and is ninth in the world rankings, but wins have been scarce. It’s been more than three years since Morikawa has won on U.S. soil, though there were victories at the British Open in 2022 and in Japan in 2023.

Despite six wins over six years on the tour, Morikawa is beginning to feel like some people have forgotten about him.

“Frankly, yes, it’s nice to have people rooting for you, and I feel like people aren’t rooting for me out here,” he said during the PGA Championship two weeks ago. “They like a good story. … whatever it may be. But you know, I could care less.”

This year’s first two majors are emblematic of Morikawa’s game. At the Masters and PGA Championship, Morikawa put himself in the final group on Sunday only to be left behind by Scottie Scheffler at Augusta and Xander Schauffele at Valhalla.

“I’m grinding and I’m putting together a score, and that’s what you can ask,” he said of his results. “But if I want to be able to close out the last two (majors), just got to be a little bit sharper, and it’s just not there.”

He certainly has had his chances in 2024, with five top-10 finishes, including last week at Colonial, where he finished fourth.

“You just want to win,” he said. “We’ve got two more majors. These first two have been disappointing, but there can still be a positive outlook. I’m going to have to just figure out how to be better.”

New territory

Allisen Corpuz gets to defend a title on the LPGA Tour for the first time this week, and it couldn’t be on a bigger stage.

The Las Vegas resident comes to the U.S. Women’s Open as the defending champion after winning last summer at Pebble Beach. She arrives at Lancaster Country Club during what has been a rather pedestrian season, with one top-10 finish in 10 starts.

“I haven’t been playing as well as I’d hope,” she said of her preparations to defend. “But it feels like you’re always working on something in your golf game, and you never know when it’s going to turn around.”

Corpuz was in a similar position last year when she arrived at Pebble Beach. She had posted some decent finishes, but nothing that screamed she was ready for her major breakthrough and maiden LPGA Tour victory.

“It was nice to see all the work validated by the win,” she said.

Now in her third season, Corpuz said she is more comfortable in her surroundings and prepared for the pressure that comes with a title defense in the most important tournament the women play all season.

“It’s a position I’m grateful to be in,” she said.

Chip shots

— Las Vegas residents Scott Lytle and Matthew Mitchell shot rounds of 72-68 over the weekend to finish at 2 under in stroke play at the U.S. Amateur Four-Ball Championship. That left them five shots shy of qualifying for match play, which wraps up Wednesday at Philadelphia Cricket Club.

— Tim Hartman won the Legacy Men’s Golf Association club championship this month. Other flight winners included Jim Foss, Chip Miller, Steve Mirsky and Jerry Van Riper.

Greg Robertson covers golf for the Review-Journal. He can be reached at grobertson@reviewjournal.com.

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