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Months before qualifying, Collin Morikawa predicted he'd be in WGC-Mexico field

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MEXICO CITY – Collin Morikawa had a general idea of where he needed to finish last week at the Genesis Invitational in order to crack the field here in Mexico.

And while a torrid start on Sunday at Riviera helped, there were no guarantees.

“It was a little stressful after the round just kind of watching. We had to have a few things work themselves out,” Morikawa said on Tuesday at the WGC-Mexico Championship.

He estimated he needed to finish inside the top 40 to move into the top 50 in the Official World Golf Ranking and qualify for this week’s World Golf Championship. His tie for 26th in Los Angeles was indeed enough to push him to 49th in the world.

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“I’ve had my mind set that this could definitely be in the schedule. Even since last fall, this was going to be in my schedule,” said Morikawa, who is making his first WGC start this week. “I wanted to make sure I got here. This is where you want to be, and these are the tournaments you want to make your schedule around.”

The World Golf Championships offer guaranteed points and earnings, but that’s not why the 23-year-old was focused on the elite events after he earned his PGA Tour card with his victory at last year’s Barracuda Championship.

“It’s more about having another learning opportunity. When you’re able to play with better players and get in better fields, you’re able to learn more,” he said. “You’re able to look at these guys when you play and practice with them, just what they do a little differently than someone in the top 125 on the FedExCup last year.”