Morikawa grabs share of RBC Heritage lead but Scheffler lurks

MIAMI: Masters contender Collin Morikawa shot a bogey-free five-under second round of 66 to join a four-way tie at the top of the leaderboard at the PGA Tour's RBC Heritage tournament on Friday.

But Masters champion Scottie Scheffler's 65 moved him to within three shots of the lead, setting up a fascinating weekend battle.

Two-time major winner Morikawa is on 11-under along with first round leader J.T. Poston, who shot a 68, Tom Hoge and Austrian Sepp Straka.

Morikawa began with a birdie on the par-5 fourth, where his superb chip from the sand left him a simple putt and then a perfect approach shot on the ninth provided him with his second birdie.

While the Californian wasn't quite on top of his game, he sank a ten-footer on the 11th for birdie and followed that up on the next hole with a 36-foot birdie putt from the fringe.

Another birdie on the par-4 16th gave him the share of the lead, with Morikawa saying he was happy with the way he had kept his scorecard clean.

"I hit it poorly, but the misses weren't as bad, and the misses don't put me in spots that cause me a lot of strokes. That's what it's about is kind of minimizing those mistakes," he said.

After struggling early in the season, Morikawa, who won the PGA Championship in 2020 and the British Open the following year, sat just a stroke behind eventual Masters winner Scottie Scheffler going into Sunday's final round at Augusta.

He finished tied for third after shooting a two-over 74 but felt he had refound his game on the range last Monday.

"It's not like we created something new in the golf swing. It just all made sense. We tried to make a lot of things make sense for the past while, but sometimes things click, and it's obviously clicked because it's lasted more than a day," he said.

Masters runner-up Ludvig Aberg moved to within a shot of the lead with his second round of 66, also bogey free.

The 24-year-old Swede only turned professional in June last year but has swiftly risen to number seven in the world.

The par-four third was his only birdie before the turn but he ended in style with four birdies in his last six holes including the 17th and 18th.

"I feel like it tested my patience a little bit more than it did yesterday. Obviously I came out a little bit hotter yesterday than I did today. But we didn't try to force anything. We stayed very disciplined and ended up finishing birdie-birdie, which was kind of a bonus on those two holes, but obviously very pleased with the way we've been playing," he said.

Ominously for the leaders though, world number one Scheffler heads into the weekend just three strokes off the lead in what is a tightly packed leaderboard.

Scheffler followed up his opening round 69 with a 65 and was pleased to have put himself in contention.

"It was a good day. I felt like I could have shot a lot lower. Felt like I had some putts that were going up and at least had a chance of going in and didn't. But other than that, yeah, played really good golf. Proud of today's effort," he said.

World number two Rory McIlroy was a stroke behind Scheffler after his 68.--AFP

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