First published in the Sept. 29 print issue of the Outlook Valley Sun.
Collin Morikawa seems to have found his winning form nearly 10 months into what has been a quiet 2022 for the young golf star. The La Cañada Flintridge native hoisted yet another trophy Sunday in helping the U.S. team defeat the international squad, 17 ½-12 ½, at Quail Hollow Club in Charlotte, North Carolina.
The Americans have won nine straight Presidents Cup competitions and 12 of 14 overall. Morikawa helped set the tone early on Thursday when he teamed up with Cameron Young in the first round to defeat Tom Kim and K.H. Lee. The La Cañada High School graduate also contributed a singles victory, edging Chilean golfer Mito Pereira on Sunday.
“I haven’t won in a while, and to just kind of feel those nerves and kind of feel that energy, it was so exciting,” said Morikawa, who attended La Cañada Elementary and graduated from LCHS in 2015. “Those are the things we live for. I think every single one of us here on both teams loves that position that you’re in when you’re coming down the stretch or you need to make a putt to win a hole.
“It was so good to feel that,” he added. “I’m energized for this coming season, and it was nice to get the win for the team.”
Young was just as ecstatic of his experience and said playing alongside Morikawa is one that he “won’t forget.”
“Probably making that putt on 17 with Collin is something I’ll remember for a long time,” he added.
The faceoff with Pereira was one of the final matches of the competition, and Morikawa managed to hold on to one the biggest leads of any golfer Sunday of four-up. He closed out the 16th hole with an impressive 24-foot birdie putt that curled its way into the hole.
“It was huge,” said Morikawa, who is only 25 and has already won two PGA Tour major championships. “… But all day, it felt good.”
Morikawa, who is no stranger to coming from behind or holding leads, said he approached the final day as if every point mattered.
“These are some of the best golfers in the world,” he said. “You can’t let up. I know we have a very strong team, but it’s golf. We all know anything can happen. So, I just wanted to keep my head down, get a point as soon as I can and hopefully, you know, celebrate with the guys.”