DUBLIN, Ohio – Collin Morikawa looked like he got run over by a truck.
The license plate read JTHOMAS-66.
Morikawa struggled to find his best form in Saturday’s third round of the Workday Charity Classic and saw his 3-shot advantage after 36 holes disappear in the dust left behind by playing companion Justin Thomas.
While Morikawa scratched out an even-par 72 at windy Muirfield Village Golf club, Thomas steamrolled his way to a 66 to move to 16 under and two shots clear over Viktor Hovland, who also turned in a 66. Morikawa, who opened with rounds of 65-66, fell three back but remains in the final group for the final round alongside Thomas and Hovland.
“It was really up and down,” Morikawa said of his round. “I put myself in spots you couldn’t put yourself in. At 12, I was over the bunker left like 10 yards, so just iron distances weren’t working. Couldn’t really figure out wind directions, how much to adjust. But whole new day tomorrow and glad I fought it out through even par and got myself 3 back, so that can change really quickly tomorrow.”
Morikawa seemed to have a handle on the Jack Nicklaus track with two birdies in his first five holes but then lost traction with bogeys on 9, 10 and 12. Meanwhile, Thomas – who has yet to make a bogey in three rounds – carded birdies on holes 5, 6, 7, 11, 14 and 15 to take command.
“I think it’s nice to see someone making birdies because that almost helps you make birdies sometimes,” Morikawa said. “It was just a little frustrating that I couldn’t get really any iron shots going, and when you have days like that, you just kind of fight them off. I wish I could have shot something a couple under, but like I said, we’re right around there. Three shots back, we’ve got 18 more holes to go.”
It was four shots back until Morikawa canned a birdie putt on 18 from 16 feet.
“I think it’s huge,” he said of his last-hole birdie. “It was good to see something going in. I was rolling some pretty good putts today other than the one on 9, so a lot of momentum heading into tomorrow.
“Tomorrow I’m going to do the same thing, same prep, same feelings, and just go out there and try and make some birdies.”