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Morikawa fires blazing 65 to vault into 2nd at Valhalla

Scott Taetsch/PGA of America / PGA of America / Getty

On a morning where Scottie Scheffler's arrest grabbed the majority of the headlines, it was Collin Morikawa who made the most noise on the golf course at the PGA Championship.

The two-time major champion took advantage of incredibly soft conditions at Valhalla with a six-under 65 to fly up the leaderboard and sit just one shot back of Xander Schauffele's lead at 12-under.

Morikawa played solid throughout his opening nine holes but really caught fire on the closing stretch to scoot past the field. After playing the back nine first, he blitzed the front side with five straight birdies from holes 4-8 to get into the solo lead. According to Justin Ray of the Twenty-First Group, that marked the first five-birdie run at a PGA Championship since 2018.

The event at Valhalla is the latest example of Morikawa's prowess in major championships. The 27-year-old sat in fifth place at Augusta last month following the second round en route to a third-place finish. If he's able to close this tournament out and claim his third career major, he will have done so faster than Tiger Woods.

Perhaps most impressive about Morikawa's display is the different manner in which he dissected Valhalla each of the first two days. The American is one of the best approach players in the world, but he struggled in that area during his 5-under opening round and instead relied on brilliant short-game play in which he gained over 2.5 strokes putting.

Friday saw a return to his usual form, as Morikawa gained almost three full shots on approach to rank among the best in the field.

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