Northeast Amateur news release...
EAST PROVIDENCE _ Collin Morikawa and Doug Ghim have been spending a lot of time together in the last several weeks and they will do it again on Saturday at Wannamoisett Country Club, this time under special circumstances.
They will play in the final group as they compete for the championship of the 56th Northeast Amateur.
The two All-Americans _ Morikawa plays for Cal Berkley and Ghim for the University of Texas _ put on another display of big-league golf in Friday’s third round to move to the top of the leaderboard. As they have since opening day, they are breaking tournament records along the way.
Morikawa recorded a 3-under par 66 over the 6,732-yard layout and stands at 12-under 195. No one has ever been that low through three rounds. Peter Uihlein had the record at 196 in 2011. Still as well as Morikawa has played, he will carry only a one-stroke lead into Saturday’s finale.
His new good buddy, Ghim, continued to hang with him. Ghim was tied with Morikawa until bogeying the 18th hole. He settled for a 67 and 196 total. It is three strokes back to midway leader Theo Humphrey in third place at 199 after a 71. Chandler Phillips moved up to fourth at 7-under 200, thanks to a third-round 66. No one else is within nine shots of the lead.
Overall scoring went up in round three, but the leaders barely seemed to notice. They have put on one of the great displays through three rounds in tournament history. So far, Morikawa and Ghim are acting more like friends than rivals.
Because of weather concerns, tournament officials decided to have the players compete in threesomes over the final rival, rather than twosomes as have been used all week. That means the top three will play together.
``We’re all playing well,’’ Ghim said. ``I’m excited with the pairings, excited to play with Collin again.’’
``It should be fun, said Morikawa of the final day. He, like Ghim, played round three wearing one of his Palmer Cup team shirts. ``We've played some good golf this week but we’ve still got one round to go.’’
Morikawa was as happy with his 66 as his 64 and 65 the first two days.
``I’m really pleased with the 66. The conditions were a lot harder, tougher pins and a little windier,’’ he said. ``I kept the ball in play.’’
Ghim was a bit more up and down. He finally made his first bogey of the week on the par-3 8th, which played 202 yards dead into the wind. He had four birdies as he was helped along by his caddie, his father, Jeff. Jeff Ghim is working for his son even though he has a sprained ankle and is noticeably hobbling along. Doug Ghim spoke about how his father has a positive attitude and keeps him in a good frame of mind.
While he lost his share of the lead with his bogey on the last hole, Ghim kept a positive attitude even there.
``I hit a bad first shot, bad second shot, bad third shot, bad fourth shot,’’ he said. He still had a considerable putt for bogey.
``Very rarely can you say you made a good bogey. I was staring at double in the face,’’ he said. ``To make a good putt keeps the momentum. To make that putt was big.’’
In the 55 year history of the Northeast, only seven players have ever finished double-digits under par. Peter Uihlein has the record at 15-under 261 in 2011. Four of the seven players who have reached double digits played in 2011. James White finished second at 12-under, Blayne Barber shot 11-under 265 and Patrick Rodgers 10-under.
The others with the low scores were Dan Woltman, when he won at 11-under in 2009, Cory Whitsett won at 10-under in 2013 and Hunter Stewart took the title in 2015, also at 10-under.
The leaders tee off at 9:40 on Saturday.