Collin Morikawa’s Disastrous Tournament of Champions Finish a Wild Ride for Bettors

By | January 9, 2023

Collin Morikawa and the golf gods weren’t on good terms Sunday afternoon in Kapalua at the Sentry Tournament of Champions.

Collin Morikawa golf odds Sentry Jon Rahm
Collin Morikawa skulls a bunker shot on the 14th at Kapalua during the final round of the Sentry Tournament of Champions in Hawaii on Sunday, Jan. 8, 2023. Morikawa held a six-shot lead after 54 holes, but faltered late to allow Jon Rahm to begin the year with a “W.” (Image: Getty)

The 2020 PGA champion and 2021 Open winner was on cruise control in Hawaii. Morikawa stood atop the tournament leaderboard from round one through late Sunday.

Morikawa fired rounds of 64-66-65 to take a commanding six-shot lead into Sunday’s final round. His lead lengthened to seven shots after making the turn at -3 thru the outward nine.

Morikawa’s odds on the back nine Sunday were at -20000 (1/200). On those odds, a $100 bet would have won just 50 cents. The line implies a likelihood of 99.5%.

Morikawa didn’t have a blemish on his scorecard through 67 bogey-less holes. With only five holes standing between him and the 25-year-old’s sixth PGA Tour title, oddsmakers and bettors had Morikawa as a done deal.

Late Collapse

Morikawa has shown he’s more than capable of handling the big-time pressure that comes with leading a PGA Tour event. With a swing envied by many, and a seemingly cool head and mental calmness to accompany it, Morikawa was expected to cruise to the Sentry win.

Instead, the nearly unthinkable happened.

After 67 holes, Morikawa made his first bogey on the par-4 14th. He made his second bogey on the very next hole — a bad bogey on the par-5 15th that included a chunked pitch from a closely mowed area around the green. Morikawa then bogeyed the par-4 16th for his third consecutive bogey.

Meanwhile, Jon Rahm was on a tear. The Spaniard birdied 12, 13, 14, and eagled the par-5 15th to pull ahead of Morikawa.

Live betting odds swung quickly during Morikawa’s breakdown. For bettors who put a few bucks on Rahm during the back nine, the gamble paid off.

Rahm was as long as 80/1 on the back nine to win on Sunday. Just a $10 bet on that line returned $800.

Morikawa Mishap

Morikawa’s relatively young career is off to a Hall of Fame start. With two majors already under his belt, Morikawa also played on the victorious 2021 US Ryder Cup team, where he went 3-0-1.

Morikawa, assuming he stays healthy, will almost certainly win more PGA Tour events and add to his already distinguished resume. But on Sunday, he added his name to a record no golfer seeks — the list of the largest blown 54-hole leads in PGA Tour history.

Morikawa joins seven other golfers who have blown six-shot leads on the PGA Tour. The others are Bobby Cruickshank (1929 Florida Open), Gay Brewer (1969 Danny Thomas-Diplomat Classic), Hal Sutton (1983 Anheuser-Busch Golf Classic), Greg Norman (1996 Masters), Sergio Garcia (2005 Wachovia Championship), Spencer Levin (2012 Waste Management Open), and Dustin Johnson (2017 World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions).

Norman’s is certainly the most infamous six-shot meltdown. It marked the third time the Australian golfer finished second or tied for second at the Masters. Norman never won at August National.

Perhaps the best-known golf collapse came in 1999 at The Open Championship, when Frenchman Jean Van de Velde lost a three-shot lead on the 72nd hole at Carnoustie. He then lost in a three-hole aggregate playoff to winner Paul Lawrie.

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