He lost a playoff to another young star, Daniel Berger, in the first event back at Colonial in June, only to outlast the world No. 1, Justin Thomas, in a three-hole playoff at the Workday Charity Open one month later for his first professional win. Bryson DeChambeau, 26, and Jon Rahm, 23, have also won on tour since the restart.
Still learning his craft at the highest level, Morikawa said playing with veterans like Steve Stricker and Zach Johnson earlier in the week had helped him change his putting approach. After being paired with Scott on Saturday, Morikawa said the rhythmic beauty of the Australian’s swing had helped his tempo all day.
The interlude with the kayakers, though, reminded him of what was missing.
“If there were fans, I’d feel like a little more of a major feel, with big crowds,” Morikawa said, looking forward to Sunday’s round. “But yeah, I feel very comfortable, and that’s always a good sense. Three birdies in my last four holes show I’ll be ready.”
The names at the top of the leader board mean that, unlike the fairways at Harding Park, the chase for the Wanamaker Trophy is wide open.
Chaos can reign on a weekend at a major: Haotong Li, the second-round leader, lost a golf ball in a cypress tree on the back nine on his way to a 73 on Saturday. Those who embrace the vagaries of a municipal course with idiosyncrasies are surging to the fore.
“It’s a really pretty place — I like the cypress trees,” said Scheffler, whose 65 matched Morikawa and placed him a stroke better, at eight under through 54 holes. “It’s got a good look for me.”
A player who knows something about what it will take to win on Sunday offered some thoughts. Tiger Woods may have struggled again with a two-over 72, but he offered his analysis of the final chase.