‘What a miss!’: Collin Morikawa *accidentally* chips in for birdie

Collin Morikawa could only shake his head after chipping in for birdie on the 13th.

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Most positive golf acts are intentional — a shot to that side of the fairway, a well-struck approach to that shelf on the green, a putt to break at that ridge.

But some positive golf acts, Collin Morikawa learned on Sunday morning, are a matter of fate.

On Sunday at the RBC Heritage, the two-time major champ discovered one of his career’s most pleasant surprises — an action that was neither intentional nor good … and yet resulted in a birdie nonetheless.

It was there, on the short par-4 13th, that Morikawa faced a chip shot from the edge of a greenside bunker on an awkward uphill slope. As the 24-year-old surveyed the shot, he noticed the downslope on the green was a hornet’s nest. The only way to get the ball to the hole was to land it near the hole. Anything short of that would likely hit the downslope and die well before the flagstick, leaving a difficult (and long) downhill par try.

So Morikawa lined up his shot to do exactly that, aiming for a high, arcing chip to cut into the green and stop shy of the hole. But when he finally struck his ball, he immediately knew something was wrong. Morikawa’s wedge cut through the rough underneath his TaylorMade ball so well, it nearly missed the ball altogether. Instead of catching the shot with the sharp, spinny grooves on the bottom of the clubface, he caught it with the smaller, less-controlled grooves at the top of it.

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Rather than shooting high into the air, Morikawa’s ball plopped just inches above the ground, catching a tuft of rough on the greenside area as it rolled down toward the hole.

“Oh, he got underneath it,” the PGA Tour Live commentator chided. “It needs to go.”

The 24-year-old recoiled, then facepalmed. His ball was about to land way short of the hole … unless?

“And it’s going … in! What a miss!” The announcer cried as the ball hit the flagstick and dropped into the hole. The crowd erupted into a cheer. It was a chip-in birdie for Collin Morikawa, and an unintentional one at that.

For his part, Morikawa couldn’t take credit. He shook his head and offered a sheepish wave as he retrieved his ball from the hole.

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Morikawa would go on to finish Sunday at 6 under, tied for 33rd and a safe distance from the lead at the RBC Heritage. Still, should the result hold, he could see an extra $2,000 in his check from this week thanks to the extra stroke from the accidental chip-in.

Once again, in golf as in life, it’s much better to be lucky than good.

James Colgan

Golf.com Editor

James Colgan is an assistant editor at GOLF, contributing stories for the website and magazine. He writes the Hot Mic, GOLF’s weekly media column, and utilizes his broadcast experience across the brand’s social media and video platforms. A 2019 graduate of Syracuse University, James — and evidently, his golf game — is still defrosting from four years in the snow. Prior to joining GOLF, James was a caddie scholarship recipient (and astute looper) on Long Island, where he is from. He can be reached at james.colgan@golf.com.