2023 Tour Championship leaderboard: Collin Morikawa tied on top breaking Tigers Woods' record at East Lake
Moriakwa's 125 through 36 holes is two strokes better than Woods' previous record mark in Atlanta
Collin Morikawa is off to a record start at East Lake Golf Club, following his Thursday 61 with a Friday 64 to shoot 125 through the first two rounds of the 2023 Tour Championship. That mark bests the prior best set by Tiger Woods, who shot 127 through 36 holes in 2007.
Morikawa remains tied atop the Tour Championship leaderboard with Viktor Hovland, who was similarly on fire in Atlanta on Friday. Hovland, last week's BMW Championship winner, once again utilized a back-nine sizzler to pull ahead of the competition and into pole position alongside Morikawa at 16 under as the weekend begins at East Lake.
Rattling off four straight back-nine birdies and needing only 30 strokes across his final holes, Hovland remained on top with Morikawa with the duo now sitting two strokes ahead of Scottie Scheffler, who entered the Tour Championship two shots in front of Hovland in an advantage provided by the FedEx Cup standings.
With $18 million awaiting the eventual winner, there is still plenty of golf left to play entering Moving Day. Keegan Bradley (-13), Xander Schauffele (-12), Jon Rahm (-12) and Rory McIlroy (-10) all sit within six shots of the lead with 36 holes left to play.
If Hovland is to become the first player since Patrick Cantlay in 2021 -- fourth overall -- to pull off the BMW Championship-Tour Championship double, he will need to putt like he did Friday. Ranking 29th in strokes gained putting in Round 1 -- besting only Scheffler -- Hovland found his groove in Round 2 gaining nearly three strokes on the green and ranking first in the field. He has proven to have the complete game and a champion's mettle, but so have his American counterparts as the list of potential FedEx Cup winners has shortened.
Morikawa made his move Thursday, and while he matched Hovland with a 64 on Friday, Hovland finished hotter on the day with a back-nine 30. Carding a bogey-free 6-under 64 to sit at 16 under, Morikawa finds himself needing to match the hottest player in the world stroke for stroke if he is to make history and become the first FedEx Cup champion to start the week nine off the pace.
Meanwhile, Scheffler has been flawless since his triple bogey on the 15th hole in Round 1, playing his next 21 holes in bogey free fashion at 6 under. The FedEx Cup leader (at the tournament's start) and No. 1 golfer in the world is within striking distance of retaking the lead entering Saturday's third round.
T1. Viktor Hovland, Collin Morikawa (-16): If it felt like déjà vu, that's because it was déjà vu. Hovland's back-nine 30 looked awfully similar to his back-nine 28 at Olympia Fields from last Sunday. He began the homeward half with a par before carding scores of 3-3-3-2-3 to speed past his counterparts. Not only did Hovland claim the lead at the halfway point, he effectively trimmed the potential names engraved on the FedEx Cup trophy. For much of the afternoon, the leaderboard was packed like sardines. Hovland has since cracked open the tin and made it so those at the top have plenty of room to swim.
3. Scottie Scheffler (-14)
4. Keegan Bradley (-13)
T5. Xander Schauffele, Jon Rahm (-12)
7. Rory McIlroy (-10)
Outside the mess on the par-5 finisher, Scheffler's second round was what we expected from the world No. 1 this week. Getting around the par 70 without a blemish and adding five birdies along the way, Scheffler remains in the thick of it at the halfway point. Like Hovland, Scheffler was much better on the greens Friday gaining nearly two strokes with his gamer. If he putts like that, he should win the FedEx Cup and make up for last year's blunder. However, it's a big if.
Xander's love affair with East Lake
Stop, if you have heard this before: Schauffele is in contention at East Lake. The winner of the Tour Championship in 2017 -- the final year of the shadow leaderboard -- Schauffele now eyes his first FedEx Cup crown. In his 26 rounds at East Lake, Schauffele has shot under par 23 times (including a 64 Friday) and not once has carded an over-par round.
"It's just you got to sort of plot around the property well and if you can get your putter going, the greens are so pure you feel like you can start rolling anything in," said Schauffele. "So, it must just fit my eye. I'm not really sure. But, yeah, I mean, I played pretty well around the property and I'm going to need some more of that magic here on the weekend."
Rory's back still an issue
The three-time FedEx Cup champion looked somewhat looser Friday compared to Thursday, but McIlroy continues to struggle with his back. A 3-under 67 has him on the periphery of contention at 10 under, six adrift of the leaders. However, his eyes may already be on the Ryder Cup despite confirming he will be playing in the Irish Open and the BMW PGA Championship on the DP World Tour before the action in Rome.
"I would rather it pop up now than in three or four weeks' time," said McIlroy. "Yeah, again, I've managed it well and I think I did well to get through yesterday. I've got through another day. Hopefully it feels a bit better over the weekend"
Rick Gehman and Patrick McDonald recap the second round of the Tour Championship. Viktor Hovland keeps rolling, Scottie Scheffler bounces back and much more. It's storylines, scorecards and betting favorites. Follow & listen to The First Cut on Apple Podcasts and Spotify.
2023 Tour Championship updated odds and picks
- Viktor Hovland: 17/10
- Collin Morikawa: 23/10
- Scottie Scheffler: 33/10
- Jon Rahm: 10-1
- Xander Schauffele: 14-1
- Rory McIlroy: 22-1
- Keegan Bradley: 25-1
These are the only seven players listed below 150-1. The top three on the board command the most respect, and rightfully so. I think you can cross off Bradley and McIlroy, due to his health, making this a five-man race for the crown. Let's take a shot on Schauffele at 14-1 to track down the three-headed monster.
Rory wraps up
It is a round of 3-under 67 for the three-time champ, and he will head into the weekend at 10 under. It is likely he finds himself a touchdown behind Hovland or whoever claims the 36-hole lead, but the main concern has to be his back and if he can stretch it even further.
Hovland makes his move
The Norwegian remains en fuego and now holds the lead at 15 under. The Americans trail by one and separation has officially been made as the next closest player is four strokes behind Hovland. It is likely Hovland, Scottie or Collin will be your FedEx Cup champ.
Leaderboard beginning to separate
Three young guns now have a two-stroke lead over the rest of the field with Collin Morikawa leading the way at 14 under. Viktor Hovland and Scottie Scheffler find themselves at 13 under before Jon Rahm and co. at 11 under. If the three at the top can finish strong, they could conceivably trim the number of potential winners to 5-6.
POY conversation heating up
They are running 2-3 behind Collin Morikawa, and they have been the best players all year. Scottie Scheffler stands at 12 under and one behind is Jon Rahm at 11 under after starting his back nine in style. The Spaniard missed a 5-foot chance to get to 12, but he now heads to the difficult 14th looking to hold serve before a potential fast finish.
Morikawa marches ahead
A birdie on the difficult par-4 8th has Collin Morikawa at 3 under for the day and 13 under for the tournament. He leads by one over Scottie Scheffler and could be on the move as he heads to the difficult ninth. This is the most separation we have seen today as congestion is the name of the game at East Lake.
Hovland cards first bogey of the week
It took him more than 20 holes, but Viktor Hovland has finally dropped a shot and returns to -11. He sits one behind Collin Morikawa and Scottie Scheffler and is joined by Russell Henley and Keegan Bradley. If either of the latter two win, would they garner a U.S. pick for the Ryder Cup? I lean no despite what would be a great season.
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