Collin Morikawa got the great start every golfer wants at the BMW Championship. The 23-year-old Cal grad scored birdies on his first two holes at Olympia Fields in suburban Chicago.
Then his day fell apart.
Morikawa, who began the week in fifth place in the FedEx Cup standings, did himself no good on Thursday, soaring to a six-over-par 76 to find himself in a five-way tie for 60th place in a field of 69 golfers.
Things went somewhat better for two former Cal golfers who are not part of the lead pack in the FedEx Cup series chase.
Byeong Hun An shot a 73 and Max Homa a 74 and sit in 35th and 45th place, respectively, heading into Friday’s action.
This is the second of three tournament in the FedEx Cup playoffs and the field will not be cut heading into the weekend, so everyone will play all four days.
But only golfers in the top 30 of the FedExCup standings will advance to next week’s Tour Championship — the final leg of the playoffs — in Atlanta, where a $15 million prize is available to the series winner.
Morikawa was No. 2 in the FedEx Cup standings after winning the PGA Championship — the season’s only major so far, because of the COVID-19 pandemic. But he failed to make the cut last week at the Northern Trust in Boston and slipped three spots to No. 5.
The second-year pro ran into trouble on the fifth hole with a double-bogey 6. It was all downhill from there.
Morikawa had bogeys on 8, 9 and 11, then closed out his round with three in a row on 16-17-18. He is nine strokes back of leader Hideki Matsuyama, who overcame three bogeys to shoot a 67.
After shooting four rounds in the 60s at the PGA, Morikawa is seven-over par the past three rounds over two weeks.
An, a 28-year-old South Korean who played for the Bears in 2011 before turning pro, entered the week ranked 35th in the FedEx Cup standings, giving him a chance to advance to next week.
His day began on the back nine and he had birdies on 13 and 15, but sandwiched them around a double-bogey on 14. That left at even par through his first nine holes.
After the turn, he birdied No. 3, but had bogeys on 4, 5, 7 and 8 to wind up three over for the day.
Homa, the NCAA individual champ for Cal in 2013, barely squeezed into the BMW field at No. 68 in the FedEx Cup standings. He birdied the first hole Thursday, then scored a double-bogey on the same fifth hole tat tripped up Morikawa.
He had four more bogeys and just one birdie — on No. 11 — the rest of the day to wind up at 74.
The course was tough on everyone, with only three golfers breaking par.
FedEx Cup leader Dustin Johnson, who shot 30-under-par last week at The Northern Trust, is at one over 71. Justin Thomas, second in the FedEx standings, shot a 73, as did Daniel Berger, who resides in fourth place in the standings.
Webb Simpson, third on the FedEx Cup list, opted to take this week off.
Follow Jeff Faraudo of Cal Sports Report on Twitter: @jefffaraudo
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