Collin Morikawa leads the US challenge at the Olympics
Collin Morikawa shared the lead at one point during the day after reaching 11 under par. Image Credit: Reuters

Dubai: Barring one of the strangest final rounds of golf in recent history, Collin Morikawa will be lifting the Harry Vardon trophy come the close of play tomorrow at the DP World Tour Championship.

The 24-year-old carded a bogey-free 69 over the Earth course on moving day to put eight fingers and one thumb on the Race to Dubai trophy, with his nearest challenger, Matt Fitzpatrick, needing to win the season-ending event coupled with Morikawa finishing lower than ninth.

Mammoth task

It will be a mammoth task for the Englishman who finds himself in a share of 13th after the third round at Jumeirah Golf Estates, while Morikawa sits in a slice of fifth.

Morikawa had shared the lead at one point during the day after reaching 11 under par after sinking a spectacular right to lefter on the sixth from 37 feet, adding to an approach to 11 feet at the first and a six footer at the second, but he closed his round with 12 straight pars to lose pace with the leaders.

“It was all over the place,” said Morikawa on his round. “Front nine played pretty good but overall just didn’t take advantage of the par 5s, and even though I felt like I hit it worse yesterday, I still birdied all the par 5s yesterday.

“So all three days have kind of been a little bit of this, a little bit of that, I’ve got one more day to kind of put everything together and hopefully put a low one out there.

With history almost clinched by becoming the first American to win the Race to Dubai title, the pressure is somewhat off Morikawa in tomorrow’s final round.

Rebrand coming soon

A good start and low scoring on the par 5’s will be essential if he is to challenge for double Dubai glory, but you can bet he will be there, or thereabouts, as the sun sets on the final European Tour event in history, with the DP World rebrand coming into effect first thing Monday.

“Whether it’s three or four shots back, I’m still in it,” he said. “Hopefully I can get off to a good start like I have done the previous few days, and it’s that middle stretch where I have not made any birdies: 10, 11, short wedge holes, and I think I’m even par.

“I have to take advantage of those tomorrow and hopefully keep the round going and at least hopefully start it on a good note.”