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USA Today Sports Media Group
USA Today Sports Media Group
Adam Schupak

Collin Morikawa’s Hawaiian ties, Scottie Scheffler eyeing world No. 1 and J.J. Spaun’s untucked shirt (the horror!) among 5 things to know at the Sentry Tournament of Champions

KAPALUA, Hawaii – There is a flicker of excitement in the dark eyes of Collin Morikawa at the mention of playing golf in Hawaii.

Front Street in Maui is where his grandparents were born and once owned a restaurant.

“Every time we walk by, my dad, I know he just kind of goes back to being a kid,” Morikawa said. “Like you could tell he wishes it was still there. I wish it was still there.”

Morikawa also wishes he could win a PGA Tour event in the Aloha State and notch his first victory since the 2021 British Open. He’s off to a good start, following up 64 with a bogey-free 7-under 66 on Friday to improve to 16-under 130 — marking his career-low 36-hole score on Tour —and take a two-stroke lead into the weekend.

“With conditions where it’s windy and pins are kind of in spots where you got to be really precise with your distance control and trajectory, it’s tailor-made for him,” said J.J. Spaun, who played in the final group on Friday with Morikawa.

Nothing would bring Morikawa more joy than doing so in front of so many family and friends.

“We had about 15 people here yesterday. So I think they will sprinkle in here and there throughout the week,” he said. “But for me, it’s just stay focused and get the job done.”

On another picture-postcard day, Morikawa came out of the gate hot, carding four birdies in his first five holes. He shot 66 despite failing to birdie two of the par 5s, Nos. 9 and 18. Through 36 holes, he’s the only player in the 38-man field that is bogey-free.

Morikawa, who recently started working with putting coach Stephen Sweeney, is having an exceptional week on the greens. He ranks first in Strokes Gained: Putting (+3.623).

“Before, it was just rolling the dice and guessing. So it’s just I have a little, I’m at ease now, knowing if I hit a bad shot or a good shot, just what I’m doing,” Morikawa said.

Here are four more things to know from the second round of the Sentry Tournament of Champions.

Sentry TOC: Saturday tee times, how to watch

World No. 1 for Scheffler again?

Scottie Scheffler hits his tee shot on the 13th hole during the second round of the Sentry Tournament of Champions golf tournament at Kapalua Resort – The Plantation Course. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Scottie Scheffler finished with four birdies in a row to shoot a second straight 66 at the Plantation Course and is tied for second, trailing Morikawa by two strokes. He will play alongside Morikawa in the final pairing on Saturday.

Scheffler, who’s currently ranked second in the world, is poised to return to No. 1 by finishing in a two-way tie for third or higher this week. Rory McIlroy, the current No. 1 and reigning FedExCup champ, opted to skip the first designated event of the season.

Scheffler’s off-season included an anniversary trip with his wife, co-hosting a College Golf Fellowship two-day retreat with Sam Burns and celebrating Christmas with the family.

To the untrained eye, Scheffler already looks to be in mid-season form, but he said he feels otherwise and rushed off to practice after his opening round to work on some changes he’s still perfecting.

“I’m hoping all it takes is a little feeling,” he said. “I’m just trying to knock off the rust.”

Scheffler held the top spot in the Official World Golf Ranking for 30 weeks until McIlroy knocked him from the top of the mountain with a win at the CJ Cup in October.

Revisiting Spieth's 'top-10 cool shot'

Jordan Spieth putts on the 10th hole during the second round of the Sentry Tournament of Champions at Kapalua Resort – The Plantation Course. Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Jordan Spieth carded two eagles (Nos. 5 and 15) en route to shooting 7-under 66 on Friday to improve to fourth place and three shots off the lead.

But all anyone wanted to talk about was his delicate flop shot hole-out at 16 in the first round.

“I don’t know where it ranks for me, but it was up there in the top 10 difficulty and I guess top 10 cool shot for me, maybe, that I’ve hit, just the full flop with the fluffy rough and the green running away from you,” he said. “It’s a freedom shot. You just have to be OK if it’s 4 feet in front of you and 40 yards past the pin and just trust that it’s going to do what you think it’s going to do.”

In typical Spieth fashion he broke the shot down as if the studio host of a pre-game show.

“The weird part was my foot was in the bunker, so the stance was really odd. I was just lopsided. So that could have made me chunk it so bad I bounce, like it crossed my mind I could hit so far behind it, it could bounce over the ball. So I tried to just kind of stay on top of it and put a lot of speed into it,” he said.

Spieth is a past champion of this event and noted that Kapalua Resort’s Plantation Course is one of his favorite resort courses to play, and so far he’s sticking to his tried and true game plan for success here.

“What I did well the last two days was take advantage of the par 5s and then felt like I’ve hit really good shots on the par 3s,” he said. “There’s only a couple of ’em, but you got to hit some nice ones there.”

Aloha Spirit

J.J. Spaun’s untucked shirt sent Twitter into a panic on Friday during the second round of the Sentry Tournament of Champions at Plantation Course at Kapalua Resort. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

They call it Aloha Friday at the Sentry Tournament of Champions and Scottie Scheffler was among the players to get into the Aloha Spirit.

“You know, when I put it on this morning, I was kind of wondering how I’m going to do this because there’s so much going on,” he said of his Hawaiian shirt. “This isn’t my typical attire, but I got used to it pretty quick.”

Justin Thomas said he tried his best to fit into the theme of the day.

“It’s kind of the most somewhat Hawaiian shirt that I had today,” he said of his Greyson golf shirt. “I like it, it’s a little bit in the festive Aloha Friday shirt. But, yeah, it’s about all I had.”

Not everyone was digging the laid-back attire being sported by the pros. J.J. Spaun, who sits two shots back in his tournament debut following a 5-under 68, caught a mixture of flack and plaudits on social media for his untucked shirt.

“Outrage? I mean, it’s Hawaii. We’re in Maui. It’s sunny. I mean, you got to hang loose, right?” he said. “So whatever. I mean, I got a lot of good compliments for it from the locals, so that’s all I’m trying to impress are the locals here.”

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