While Matthew Wolff ended up winning the 3M Open and earning his PGA Tour card last Sunday, Collin Morikawa likely won’t be far behind.
Morikawa earned 245 non-member FedExCup points for his joint-runner-up finish at TPC Twin Cities, which bumped his total to 334 and earned him special temporary membership on Tour. With unlimited sponsor exemptions the rest of the season, all Morikawa needs to do to lock up his Tour card for next season is finish with more points than No. 125 on the FedExCup list. Currently, Ryan Blaum holds that position with 284 points.
“Obviously the goal coming into this summer was to earn a full card for next year,” Morikawa said earlier this week. “We're almost there.”
Through 54 holes of the John Deere Classic, the 22-year-old Cal product is in position to widen the gap between him and No. 125. After opening in 1-under 70 at TPC Deere Run, Morikawa has shot 66-65 and sits at 12 under.
He won’t play in Sunday’s final pairing like he did a week ago, but he can still haul in some significant points.
“It's fun being out here,” Morikawa said Saturday. “To finally compete with these guys is exactly what I've wanted to do, and I've been playing some really solid golf. I've been putting the ball close to the hole and letting some drop.”
Morikawa has made just three bogeys all week at TPC Deere Run, including none on Saturday. On Moving Day, he birdied two of the three par-5s and all four of his birdies on par-4s were inside of 6 feet. He nearly holed out for eagle from 112 yards out at the par-4 eighth.
“Once I hit the shot on 2, hit a good second shot [to 50 feet] and set myself up for birdie, I knew it was going to be a good ball-striking day, and the entire summer has been like that,” Morikawa said.
Now five starts into his pro career, Morikawa has yet to miss a cut. His worst finish is a T-36 at the Travelers. There are three weeks remaining in the regular season, and Morikawa will likely tee it up twice, in the Barracuda and Wyndham.
There’s no reason why Morikawa doesn’t think he can win one of those events. A victory, by the way, would make him eligible for the playoffs.
“I think I've already proven to myself that I can come out here and play with these guys,” Morikawa said. “You know, I've told everyone, I've felt very comfortable since the first day I've stepped out here on the PGA Tour … You've got to believe in yourself. That's where it's going to start. There are going to be a lot of people that believe in you and you're going to have your support system, but if you don't believe in yourself out here, it's going to be really tough.”