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Cal Golf: Collin Morikawa Improves But Far Back Entering Final Day of Tour Championship

After two tough days, the 24-year-old fires a third-round 68 at East Lake Golf Course.

Collin Morikawa assembled his best round so far at the Tour Championship but the former Cal star remains far out of contention headed into the final day of the FedEx Cup playoffs.

Morikawa shot a 2-under par 68 on Saturday at East Lake Golf Course in Atlanta, breaking par for the first time here after shooting 70 and 73 the previous two days.

At minus-2 for the tournament, factoring in his 3-under starting score, Morikawa trails leader Patrick Cantlay by 18 stokes and is far removed from competition for the $15 million first -prize in the FedEx Cup playoffs. He is tied for 22nd place in the 30-player field.

Morikawa, 24, began the three-week playoff series that ends the PGA season atop the FedEx Cup standings. But he failed to make the cut at The Northern Trust two weeks ago then finished 63rd last week at the BMW Championship last week.

That left him as the No. 11 seed entering this week, providing him just a three-stroke edge in the staggered scoring system. Cantlay moved to the top of the standings after winning the BMW title, earning a 10-stroke starting point.

A back injury at the Tokyo Olympics in late July didn’t prevent him from finishing just shy of a bronze medal. But Morikawa has struggled ever since. He has said his back is no healed but acknowledges that compensating for his ailment caused harm to his swing, which continues to be an issue.

Morikawa had five birdies on Saturday, but also a bogey and a double-bogey 6 on the par-4 16th hole.

Cantlay shot a 67 on Saturday and is now 10 under on the course after three days, giving him a net score of minus-20.

World No. 1 Jon Rahm is two strokes back at minus-18 after a 68 in the third round, and Justin Thomas has crept into contention at minus-15 following a 65 on Saturday.

Cover photo of Collin Morikawa by Adam Hagy, USA Today

Follow Jeff Faraudo of Cal Sports Report on Twitter: @jefffaraudo