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By Joel Beall
Matthew Wolff and Collin Morikawa staged a tour de force showdown on Sunday in the Twin Cities, with Wolff edging out his fellow fledgeling star with an eagle on the final hole. For his bravado, Wolff earned a two-year exemption in just his third professional start, along with invites to the 2020 Masters and PGA Championship.
Morikawa…well, he didn’t get that haul. But he didn’t leave Minnesota empty-handed.
Morikawa’s runner-up finish at the 3M Open, spurred by a 64 and 66 over the weekend, conferred special temporary status for the rest of the PGA Tour campaign.
“Heading down to the end of the season and obviously there’s one more notch I want to reach, but it is a good feeling, you know, to finish T-2. You’re never going to be fully disappointed on that,” Morikawa said. “It’s another week and I think this is really going to help me just kind of move forward in the next month or so.”
Along with Sunday’s silver medal, Morikawa has a T-14 at the RBC Canadian Open, T-35 at the U.S. Open and T-36 at the Travelers Championship, accumulating enough points to earn unlimited tour invites until the FedEx Cup Playoffs (non-members are capped at seven). If he can get inside the No. 125 spot on the FedEx Cup standings between now and then—his total, 334 points, is currently the equivalent of No. 114—he’ll secure a PGA Tour card for the 2019-’20 season.
Morikawa didn’t have the hype of Wolff or Victor Hovland when he turned professional, yet he’s quickly proved his mettle. It’s also far from an aberration: Morikawa finished T-2 at the Web.com Tour’s 2016 Air Capital Classic, is a former World Am No. 1 and was a member of the victorious 2017 U.S. Walker Cup team.
The former Cal-Berkeley product gets his next chance at this week’s John Deere Classic, with a shot at Royal Portrush on the line.
“I love this, I love being out here,” Morikawa said. “This is exactly what I’ve wanted to do my entire life. It’s kind of emotional just being here because this is what I want to do. I can’t see anything else. So I’m excited to keep playing. Next week should be fun, and hopefully, we’ll keep going from there.”