ATLANTA — Collin Morikawa went down a rabbit hole in search of a swing fix and grabbed ahold of one by the tail. Viktor Hovland continues to make birdies in bunches.
That’s how these two find themselves sharing the 36-hole lead at 16-under par at the midway point of the Tour Championship.
At one time on Friday, there were 13 golfers in the field of 30 within two strokes of the lead, but by day’s end, the co-leaders had signed for a pair of 64s at East Lake Golf Club and only six golfers were within four strokes of the lead.
Morikawa, who is seeking his first win since the 2021 British Open and began the tournament nine strokes behind Scottie Scheffler in the staggered-start scoring system used to determine the FedEx Cup champion, was searching for his game on Tuesday afternoon on the range.
“I was going to treat Monday through Wednesday this week just as a kind of relaxing, get into it, game felt good enough to play well, and I went down this rabbit hole of just kind of — I hit one bad shot in the practice round, tried to figure it out, was out on the range two more hours,” he said.
With birdies on his final two holes, Morikawa opened with rounds of 61-64 to break the Tour Championship 36-hole scoring record of 127, previously set by Tiger Woods. He’s the only player in the field who is bogey-free through 36 holes.
“If I was going to tell myself I was going to be 16 under through two days, with my total score or whatever you want to call it, I would have taken that,” Morikawa said.
He’d also take ranking first in the field in Strokes Gained: Tee to Green, driving accuracy and proximity. His putting hasn’t been too shabby, either.
“I’ve never seen him look as confident on the greens as we have so far this week,” said PGA Tour Radio’s Dennis Paulson.
Hovland, who won last week at the BMW Championship and entered the week in second place in the season-long FedEx Cup, is hotter than the weather, which tipped out at 97 degrees Friday. Hovland birdied five holes in a six-hole stretch on the back nine starting at No. 12 to post 64 and grab a share of his fifth career 36-hole lead.
“We’ve all grinded out the whole year to be at this spot but we’re only halfway there and so got to keep playing the way I’ve been playing,” he said. “When things feel good, you just trust your feels and visualize it and when it’s that easy, you just want to keep it that easy.”
Both Hovland and Morikawa are certainly making it look…