Collin Morikawa made four birdies over the final six holes on Saturday to climb into sole possession of second place entering the final round of the RBC Heritage Open at Hilton Head, S.C.
Morikawa’s third-round 67 puts him at 13 under through 54 holes.
The 24-year-old Cal grad, will begin play Sunday five strokes behind veteran Stewart Cink, who added to his second-round lead with a 69 for an 18-under score. His five-stroke margin is the largest 54-hole lead on the PGA tour this season.
Morikawa, chasing his fifth career PGA tour victory, must overtake the 47-year-old, who won his first professional title when Morikawa was five months old. Cink’s caddie is his son, Reagan, who is two months younger than Morikawa.
The two leaders will play together on Sunday.
Morikawa, who shot 65 and 68 over the first two rounds, has shown remarkable consistency at the Harbor Town Golf Links. He has 15 birdies and just two bogeys through 54 holes.
Even through 12 holes on Saturday, Morikawa peeled off birdies on 13, 14 and 15. He made par on No. 16, then birdied 17 before closing with a par for a score of 31 on the back nine.
“Thankful to get three in a row and give myself at least somewhat of a shot come tomorrow,” said Morikawa of his string of birdies. “Yeah, I mean, it shows that there's 62s, there's 63s out on this golf course, I just have to go out there and find it. Each day I've shown little specks of good golf, I've just got to put it all together for tomorrow's final round if I want a chance.”
Cink shot 63s on the par-71 course on both Thursday and Friday for a course-record 126 through 36 holes. He has made just two bogeys so far. He more than compensated for those with eagles in each of the first two rounds.
Cink has won this tournament twice, but not since 2004. He’s had a comeback season and his win at the Safeway Open in September was his first in 11 years. His three-round score of 195 is a tournament record.
“I've been there before,” said Cink, who is 2 for 12 at closing out 54-hole leads/co-leads on the tour. “I've certainly been nervous and thrown up on myself and I've also played great in that situation. You know, I think it's a lot better to embrace it and enjoy it and feel the tingle as opposed to trying to act like it's not there.”
Emiliano Grillo,a 28-year-old from Argentina, sits in third place at minus-12, one stroke behind Morikawa and one ahead of Matt Wallace and Sungjae Im.
* Courtesy of PGA.com, here are some things any golfer can borrow from Collin Morikawa that will improve your game.
Cover photo of Collin Morikawa by Joshua S. Kelly, USA Today
Follow Jeff Faraudo of Cal Sports Report on Twitter: @jefffaraudo