Collin Morikawa has endured a spectacular wipe-out, even by Maui standards, as Jon Rahm came from seven shots behind to win the PGA Tour’s Tournament of Champions in Hawaii.
Rahm was six shots behind on the 13th hole at Kapalua, on the popular Hawaiian surfing island of Maui, when he ran off three straight birdies and a 3.5m eagle putt. His final birdie gave him a 10-under 63.
Morikawa had gone 67 holes without a bogey on the Plantation Course when it all fell apart with his wedges and his putter — the two areas that had carried him to a six-shot lead at the start of the day.
From 25 yards short of the 14th green, he blasted out of a bunker and over the green.
He muffed a wedge from a tight lie with the grain of grass into him on the par-five 15th. His wedge to the 16th did not go far enough and rolled some 20m back onto the fairway.
Morikawa looked in a state of shock as he walked down the 17th fairway, leading by as many as seven shots during the final round and suddenly finding himself two shots behind and running out of hope.
He wound up tying a PGA Tour record for losing the largest 54-hole lead at six shots.
Seven other players have done that, most recently Dustin Johnson in 2017 at the Champions event in Shanghai.
Rahm finished at 27-under 265 to win by two shots over Morikawa, who birdied the 18th hole — his first birdie since hole number six — to close with a 72.
It was the second such collapse by Morikawa in a little more than a year. He closed out 2021 at the Hero World Challenge and had a five-shot lead with a chance to reach number one in the world with a victory. He shot 76 and finished fifth.
Masters champion Scottie Scheffler had a chance to return to number one this week if he finished in a two-way tie for third or better. He had to settle for a 70 and tied for seventh.
It was a small measure of redemption for Rahm, who last year finished at 33-under par at Kapalua.
It was a PGA Tour record for that lasted only a few seconds before Cameron Smith finished at 34-under to win by one.
Rahm — who goes home with $US4.2 million ($6.1 million) — is now 60-under in his last two appearances at Kapalua. The victory was his ninth on the PGA Tour and 17th worldwide.
Tom Hoge had a 64 and tied for third with Max Homa (66).
Australia’s sole representative Adam Scott shot a fourth-round 69 to finish 29th at 13-under.