Morikawa takes Workday; Nelly gives Kordas 2nd straight win
BRADENTON, Fla. (AP) — PGA champion Collin Morikawa shook off an early mistake and played a steady hand on a Concession golf course known for calamity, closing with a 3-under 69 for a three-shot victory in the Workday Championship.
Morikawa picked up a few short-game tips from major champions — Mark O’Meara on his putting, Concession member Paul Azinger on the chipping — and he says it carried him to another big win.
And there was a tribute to Tiger Woods, his golf idol growing up.
“We don’t say ‘Thank you’ enough,” Morikawa said, referring to how much Woods has raised the profile and prize money in golf. He also mentioned his grandfather dying a month ago and began to get emotional.
Morikawa won by three over Brooks Koepka (70), Viktor Hovland (67) and Billy Horschel (70).
He finished at 18-under 270 and became the 24th player to win a major and a World Golf Championship title since this series began in 1999. He joined Woods as the only players to win both before turning 25.
There were red numbers on the board and on the golf course, with several players wearing red shirts and black pants — the Sunday colors of Woods — as a show of support as Woods recovers from career-threatening leg injuries from his car crash in Los Angeles last Tuesday.
The tournament was moved from Mexico City to Concession because of COVID-19 circumstances.
ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — Nelly Korda seized control with three early birdies and finished with 12 straight pars for a 3-under 69 to win the Gainbridge LPGA, giving the Korda family two victories to start the season.
Her older sister, Jessica, won the season-opening Tournament of Champions last month in Orlando.
Korda won for the first time on American soil — her other three LPGA wins were in Australia and twice in Taiwan — and the first time with her parents watching. Her father, Petr Korda, is a former Australian Open tennis champion.
On the other side of the course, Annika Sorenstam wrapped up her return after more than 12 years of retirement with a par on the ninth hole for a 76, finishing last among the 74 players who made the cut. The 50-year-old Swede was making this one-time appearance because Lake Nona has been her home course for two decades.
Sorenstam finished 29 shots behind Korda, who won by three over Lexi Thompson and Lydia Ko. Korda finished at 16-under 272.
RIO GRANDE, Puerto Rico (AP) — Branden Grace closed eagle-birdie to win the Puerto Rico Open, an emotional triumph following his father’s January death after a month-long fight with the coronavirus.
Grace holed out from a greenside bunker for eagle on the par-4 17th and birdied the par-5 18th for a one-stroke victory over Jhonattan Vegas at windy Grand Reserve.
“This morning I had a tear in the car when I was talking to my wife,” Grace said about father Peter. “It was an emotional day. I thought about him a hell of a lot out there, especially the last tee shot. I was really struggling the last hole, because I knew he was watching over me. I knew he was guiding me.”
The 32-year-old South African player won for the second time on the PGA Tour and 13th worldwide, closing with a 6-under 66 to finish at 19-under 269.
Vegas, from Venezuela, birdied the 18th in a 65. Puerto Rican player Rafael Campos and Grayson Murray, tied for the third-round lead, each shot 70 to tie for third at 16 under.
PGA TOUR CHAMPIONS
TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) — Kevin Sutherland chipped in for the only birdie of the final round on No. 16 and had a tap-in for another on the next hole, shooting a 4-under 69 to overtake Mike Weir in the Colorguard Classic.
Sutherland trailed by two to start the day and was down four after Weir birdied the par-5 eighth in blustery conditions at Tucson National. Sutherland cut Weir’s lead in half with two birdies in his first three holes to start on the back nine and chipped in from short right of the 183-yard, par-3 16th.
The 56-year-old Sutherland tapped in on 17 after putting through the fringe on the par 5 and just missed another birdie on the difficult 18th to close out his second victory in his last three PGA Tour Champions starts and fifth overall. He won the Charles Schwab Championship in November in Phoenix.
Sutherland finished at 15 under, two ahead of Weir, three up on Steve Stricker and Scott Parel. Weir bogeyed two of the final three holes to 73.
Phil Mickelson’s bid to win his first three PGA Tour Champions starts came to a halt with a triple bogey on the par-4 ninth. He shot 73 to finish 11 shots back.