2021 Memorial Tournament Buys: Collin Morikawa Among 3 Who Bettors Should Target Early
Andrew Dieb/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Collin Morikawa.
A surprising Sunday is in the books from Colonial Country Club, where Texas native Jordan Spieth couldn’t go wire to wire to close out his 54-hole lead at the Charles Schwab Challenge. Jason Kokrak was up to the task of playing spoiler against the pro-Spieth crowd, ultimately beating the Dallas native by two shots.
It was the second career victory, and second of the season for Kokrak, whose new putting game continues to pay off. He was able to put together an even-par round on Sunday after being 2-over through four holes, holing out some big putts down the stretch to get the win.
Neither player in the final pairing had their best stuff in the final round. Both lost strokes to the field tee to green on Sunday, while Spieth lost strokes in strokes in three of four strokes gained categories, most notably more than two shots on approach.
It was a big and surprising swing for Spieth, who was the best player in the field with his irons coming into the round. In the end, it was the flat stick that closed the deal for Kokrak, who gained nearly a full stroke putting on Sunday, allowing him to get away with some issues on approach and around the greens.
While the final pairing struggled, several others put together solid rounds to close out their week in strong fashion heading into the new week. Let’s take one final look at who has their game trending into a star studded field next week at the Memorial.
3 Buys for the Memorial
Collin Morikawa is becoming a Will Zalatoris-like staple in this column, but it’s for all of the right reasons.
Morikawa really has everything looking up for him this week at a course where he won last year (a Workday event, not the Memorial), and he added a win on another Nicklaus track at Congressional earlier this year.
The game is also sharp coming in. Morikawa ranked second in the field in strokes gained approach this week, and he shook off an uncharacteristically ugly third round for a 2-under 68 on Sunday. He gained more than three shots on the field with his approach play in the final round and heads to Ohio in good form.
It was shaping up to be another solid week for Tony Finau until he completely lost his putter on Sunday at the Charles Schwab. He started the final round in a tie for ninth but lost eleven spots on the leaderboard by the end of the round.
Finau lost 3.74 strokes with his putting in the final round at Colonial Country Club and while I didn’t see any of it, I can only assume something broke. He had been hovering right at field average on the greens through 54 holes, but the wheels completely came off in the final 18.
I am willing to overlook this type of outlier performance in a round when he still gained nearly 2.5 strokes tee to green, with 2.38 of those coming on approach. Finau finished the week ranked third in the field in strokes gained tee to green and averaged nearly two strokes gained ball striking per round.
I’ll be looking for a good number on Tony when the odds come out on Monday morning after he looked ready to contend on a course where he has three top-13 finishes in his last five appearances.
One final under the radar buy for next week’s Memorial is Kevin Streelman. He posted another solid week in Texas with a tie for 20th, following his top 10 at the PGA Championship.
Streelman really played well this week at the Charles Schwab but was bitten by two big numbers during his rounds. The first was in Thursday’s opening round, when he made a triple bogey on his final hole of the day. He had another struggle at the 16th hole on Sunday, as he struggled to get to the green on the par 3. He would double bogey, making it five lost shots in two holes, that left him at 4-under on the week instead of a much higher finish.
He still gained strokes in three of four categories for the tournament and has to feel some positive momentum heading into the Memorial. This week’s event is one that he has performed well at in the past, as he has two top-8 finishes and a T13 in three of his last five trips to this event.
Charles Schwab Challenge Final Strokes Gained Data (avg/rd)