Collin Morikawa among the big names lurking entering weekend at Zozo Championship
One name stands out at first glance of the Zozo Championship leaderboard: Rickie Fowler. Winless in nearly four years on Tour and in this week on a sponsor’s exemption, Fowler shares the 36-hole lead in Japan.
But look a little further down and you’ll see some notable names who have no desire to let Fowler end his schneid.
Viktor Hovland, Collin Morikawa and Xander Schauffele are all making their season debuts this week at the Accordia Golf Narashino Country Club. And all are within six shots with two rounds to play.
Hovland and Morikawa sit in a tie for eighth at 5 under par, five back of Fowler and co-leader Andrew Putnam. Schauffele is a stroke further removed.
With preferred lies (lift, clean and place) employed on Friday, Hovland and Morikawa took advantage. The former made six birdies and two bogeys for a 4-under 66. The latter had seven birdies and one bogey for a 64.
Schauffele, meanwhile, stalled in Round 2. After opening in 67, he had three birdies and two bogeys for a 69. That left him at 4 under par for the tournament.
There is no 36-hole cut for the limited, 78-man field, which offers players an opportunity to make a significant weekend rally. Such will be needed by defending champion Hideki Matsuyama.
The Japanese star has made only four birdies over the course of two days (71-69) outside Tokyo and sits at even par, 10 shots off the lead.