Trio eye strong start at Vegas
published : 14 Oct 2021 at 04:00
newspaper section: Sports
Las Vegas: World No.3 Collin Morikawa makes his PGA Tour 2021-22 season's debut at the CJ Cup starting today with every intention of keeping his foot on the pedal as he seeks to enjoy the comforts of being at home this week.
The 24-year-old Morikawa is amongst a stellar line-up of stars gathered at the Summit Club which includes 24 of the top-30 players from last season's FedEx Cup standings and 12 of the world's top 15 who will vie for the title won by Jason Kokrak 12 months ago.
Morikawa won twice last season including a second major championship, the British Open, to raise his career PGA Tour wins tally to five as he maintained his meteoric rise since turning professional two years ago.
He was also part of the US team which won the Ryder Cup over Europe last month.
"Obviously having two wins including a WGC [World Golf Championships] and a major [British Open], it's going to be great, you're going to have a decent season... but I think overall the consistency throughout the season wasn't there," said Morikawa.
With the Summit being his home course, Morikawa hopes to take advantage of his local knowledge.
"It's nice to sleep in my own bed and to be at the Summit, a place I practise at every day. I don't think I've ever played a tournament on a home course," he said.
Like Morikawa, two-time CJ Cup winner Justin Thomas is excited to get his new season off on a winning start with his new and experienced caddie, Jim "Bones" MacKay after finishing fourth in the FedEx Cup in the previous season where he won the Players Championship and enjoyed seven top-10 finishes.
By his high standards, the 28-year-old feels his campaign could have been much better.
"Last year [season] was an up and down year. I just wasn't showing the consistency that I feel like I could or just kind of finishing off tournaments how I felt like I could," he said.
World No.5 Xander Schauffele enjoyed receiving the Keys to Vegas from mayor Carolyn Goodman on Tuesday in recognition of his gold medal winning feat at the Olympic Games in Tokyo in July.
He is keen to win the CJ Cup after finishing second when it was played at Shadow Creek, also in Vegas, last year.
"I'm pretty excited to sort of get back into the competitive swing of things," said Schauffele.