Golf-Morikawa tries to avoid burnout in sprint through playoffs
(Reuters) - Collin Morikawa has enjoyed a meteoric rise since turning pro in 2019 and on Wednesday said his gameplan for the opening event of the FedExCup Playoffs this week in New Jersey is to not burn out before the lucrative, season-ending Tour Championship.
This week's Northern Trust at Liberty National Golf Course in Jersey City, where play begins on Thursday, is the first of three events over the next three weeks to determine which golfer wins the $15 million prize as FedExCup champion.
Morikawa was brimming with confidence when he entered last year's playoff opener shortly after winning the PGA Championship for his first major title but learned a valuable lesson to pace himself and peak at the right moment.
"The way I looked into the playoffs last year, I was so focused -- especially after that PGA win -- let's go win, win, win, and I think I was almost burnt out by the time I got to that third week," said Morikawa.
"Not everyone has the luxury of knowing where they're going to stand coming to the Tour Championship, but I at least know I'm going to be there, I'm going to have a chance with four rounds no matter where I stand."
The top 125 players in the season-long FedExCup points list secured a spot in the playoffs and Morikawa, who had eight top-10 finishes this season, topped the standings.
The top 70 players after the Northern Trust advance to next week's BMW Championship at Caves Valley Golf Club in Owings Mills, Maryland, with the top 30 from there heading to Atlanta for the Sept. 2-5 Tour Championship.
Since turning pro in 2019, Morikawa has won five times on the PGA Tour, including at this year's British Open.
The 24-year-old also competed in a seven-man playoff for the bronze medal at the Tokyo Olympics and has already qualified for the U.S. Ryder Cup team that will compete at Whistling Straits in Wisconsin in September.
However he fares this week, Morikawa said he is not going to allow himself to lose sight of the ultimate goal of peaking at East Lake.
"It's just thinking about how do I rest up? How do I feel great about myself body-wise by the time I do get there?," said Morikawa.
"I'm going to kind of look at this a little differently throughout these next couple weeks leading up to the Tour Championship and just see if I can plot my way to really peak in that third week rather than burn myself out in the first few," said Morikawa.
(Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto; Editing by Toby Davis)
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