WGC-Workday Championship 2021: Collin Morikawa Surges to Lead with 3rd-Round 67

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistFebruary 27, 2021

Collin Morikawa tees off on the 13th hole during the second round of the Genesis Invitational golf tournament at Riviera Country Club, Friday, Feb. 19, 2021, in the Pacific Palisades area of Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ryan Kang)
Ryan Kang/Associated Press

Collin Morikawa is 18 holes away from his fourth career PGA Tour win after a strong showing in the third round of the WGC-Workday Championship. 

Coming into Saturday as part of a three-way tie for second place, Morikawa vaulted into sole possession of the top spot with a five-under 67. His three-day score of 15 under par is two shots ahead of Webb Simpson and Billy Horschel. 

Rory McIlroy also had a good day on the course. He moved up eight spots into a tie for fifth place at 11 under par after carding a 66. Brooks Koepka, who held a one-shot lead coming into the third round, had another solid day with a two-under 70.  

2021 WGC-Workday Championship Leaderboard

1. Collin Morikawa (-15)

T2. Brooks Koepka (-13)

Video Play Button
Videos you might like

T2. Billy Horschel (-13)

4. Webb Simpson (-12)

T5. Patrick Reed (-11)

T5. Rory McIlroy (-11)

T7. Viktor Hovland (-10)

T7. Hideki Matsuyama (-10)

T7. Scottie Scheffler (-10)

T7. Matthew Fitzpatrick (-10)

Full leaderboard via PGATour.com

Dating back to the second round, Morikawa is 13 under par over his last 36 holes. He made the turn on Saturday with five consecutive birdies after hitting a bogey on No. 4 and had a string of seven birdies in eight holes overall. 

One potential cause for concern looking ahead to Sunday is Morikawa's par-five gaffes. He had three bogeys in the third round; two of them came on the back-nine par fives. Instead of taking a lead of at least three shots into the final round, he allowed Simpson and Horschel to remain close. 

Putting has been Morikawa's Achilles' heel throughout his career. The 24-year-old entered Saturday ranked 60th in putting average and 213th in strokes gained putting on the PGA Tour. 

The past two rounds have seen Morikawa gain more than one stroke with his putter, including a 1.8 mark on Saturday. If he finds consistency in that area, the sky is the limit for what he can do on a golf course. 

McIlroy put together his best day since the second round of The Masters in November and has rebounded nicely this weekend after missing the cut at the Genesis Invitational last week. The Irish star is on the verge of his first top-10 finish since playing at Augusta. 

The only negative part of McIlroy's third round was a double-bogey on No. 2. He took a penalty when his second shot landed in the water on the right side of the fairway. 

From that point on, though, McIlroy played the next 16 holes at seven under par. He had an eagle on the par-five 13th hole and finished the back nine with a score of 31. 

Simpson continues to quietly go about his business this weekend. The North Carolina native sits at 13-under after a third-round 68. He has just three bogeys in 54 holes and minimized his mistakes on the back nine Saturday. 

Horschel looked like he was in line for a rough finish with back-to-back bogeys on Nos. 13 and 14. He turned things around before going into the clubhouse thanks to a birdie on No. 16 and an eagle on No. 17. 

There was a point in the day when Morikawa was five shots clear of the field. He gave one shot back late, and several other players made a move to close the gap. 

Neither of the leaders after the first two days were able to stay there after the following round. Given how well everyone at the top of the leaderboard fared on Saturday, there's still plenty of time for someone to make a move in the final round.