Golf-Morikawa eager to extend love affair with Muirfield

By Frank Pingue

July 14 (Reuters) - Collin Morikawa, fresh off his dramatic playoff win at Muirfield Village Golf Club, returns to the Jack Nicklaus-designed layout for this week's Memorial Tournament where the course he quickly fell in love with will present a much sterner test.

Morikawa had never played Muirfield Village prior to last week's Workday Charity Open but it was hard to tell as he overcame a three-shot deficit to Justin Thomas over the final three holes before winning in a playoff.

"From the moment I stepped on this course I kind of fell in love," Morikawa said on Tuesday at Muirfield Village.

"I thought a lot of tee shots fit my eye, everything, approach shots, so I knew it was going to be a really good course, whether I played well or not."

But Morikawa, who rose to 13th in the world rankings this week after collecting his second PGA Tour title, knows his recent result means little going into this week where a tougher field and course stand between him and a Muirfield double.

While the layout which suits a left-to-right shot will still be pleasing to Morikawa's eye, the American will need to adjust to new pin positions, green speeds and the length of the bluegrass rough while playing in a major-calibre field.

"I can't get too relaxed thinking, 'Yeah, I played great last week, it's just going to move into this week'," he said.

"Yeah, there's a lot of positives and a lot of things I can take from last week, but I still have to by Thursday morning be ready; okay, last week does not matter at all.

"It's not like I start at 15-under, 19-under par. I've got to go out and start making some birdies again."

(Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto; Editing by Ken Ferris)

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.


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