Jim Souhan
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AUGUSTA, GA. – On the 18th hole at Augusta National, Collin Morikawa looked in his golf bag and opted for a metaphor.

He took out a fairway wood, addressed his ball and punched out to the fairway — backward.

His wayward tee shot had gone the way of his attempt to win a third major, and found trouble. Now he was going backward as his playing partner, Scottie Scheffler, was easing toward a second Masters Tournament championship.

"When you're playing really good, you don't get greedy, and I got greedy on 9, I got greedy on 11," Morikawa said. "I wasn't pressing, I just was trying to hit it a little bit too close, and greed can get the best of us.

"I'm going to take a lot from this week. It's been a rough season so far, but hopefully this is kind of the turning point. I've seen a lot of good, and watching Scottie today, I know it's doable for me. I've just got to put the pieces together."

The 27-year-old Morikawa is known for a controlled swing and clutch play. In the two previous majors that he had a chance to win entering Sunday, he won, meaning he had more major championships than the three players vying with him for the Masters title on Sunday.

He hit every fairway on Saturday and said on Saturday night of Scheffler, "He doesn't scare me."

Which is true. Morikawa has nerve, skill and pedigree, and because golf is the world's most confounding sport, none of that mattered on Sunday.

He shot a 2-over-par 74, leaving him tied for third, seven shots behind Scheffler.

"We put a lot of pieces of the puzzle together this week, but after watching Scottie this week, I know what to do if I really want to close this gap on what he's doing and how impressive he's playing," Morikawa said. "Look, today's a day where I fully believe that I still have it, and I know I still have it. I've just got to keep digging a little bit deeper and really just be strong with myself because I know that — you know, I made two errors, and that cost me the tournament. I still would have had to make some birdies, but it cost me at least some momentum and kind of staying around the lead."

Since winning the British Open in 2021, Morikawa has had one PGA Tour victory, the Zozo Championship last fall in Japan.

"This has been a weird year, but I saw a lot of good this week," Morikawa said. "Today was the first day where I really just mentally kind of gave a couple away. Sometimes it happens. The few times I've been kind of near the lead in majors, I've performed pretty well.

"Today I think it's just a balance of everything between how the game feels and where the mental state is. It's just kind of getting back in that groove."