Collin Morikawa celebrated a decisive victory at the Zozo Championship in Japan, marking the end of a two-year title drought and a return to the style of golf he cherishes. The two-time major champion secured a comfortable six-stroke lead at the Narashino Country Club, producing a flawless round with seven birdies and no bogeys for a total of 14-under.
This win, his sixth on the US PGA Tour, was his first since claiming the 2021 DP World Tour Championship in Dubai. Morikawa expressed how much it meant to him to lift the trophy, particularly after a challenging two-year period where he struggled to contend in tournaments.
He commented, “Having experienced this two-year drought, with times of struggle and not being in contention, to perform the way I did throughout this entire week – that’s the style of golf I’ve been missing.” His last US PGA Tour victory prior to this one was at the 2021 British Open.
Morikawa, who was part of the American Ryder Cup team that failed to retain the title in Rome, led the 78-man, no-cut event near Tokyo after the first round but had a setback before making a strong comeback in the third round with five birdies in the last six holes.
His final day performance featured four birdies on the front nine, propelling him into the lead. Morikawa solidified his win with one last birdie, setting a new record for the largest margin of victory in the tournament’s history. He expressed confidence that his title drought would end, emphasizing the timing of it.
He stated, “The thoughts in your head start accumulating – what did I do differently, what should I change? I simply needed to take a step back and revisit the fundamental aspects that made me a consistent player.”
Eric Cole and Beau Hossler finished tied for second at 8-under, while Justin Suh, who began the final day with a one-stroke lead, struggled, carding a final-round 74 to finish at 5-under.
Morikawa, who has Japanese heritage, felt a strong connection with the home fans and recognized how representing the United States in events like the Ryder Cup and the Olympics provided additional motivation.
Xander Schauffele, the Tokyo Olympics champion, was three strokes off the lead after two rounds but fell in the rankings and ended at 2-over. Defending champion Keegan Bradley finished at 1-under, and 2021 winner Hideki Matsuyama concluded at 5-over.
The Zozo Championship, with a prize purse of $8.5 million, was established in 2019 as the first US PGA Tour event in Japan. It witnessed a large turnout of Japanese fans during its inaugural edition when Tiger Woods secured the title, marking his 82nd US PGA Tour victory, equalling Sam Snead’s 54-year-old record.