It is remarkable to consider how far Collin Morikawa has come over the past 16 months.

In July 2020, the sophomore pro and new Las Vegas resident claimed just one PGA Tour victory in a second tier event. And then, boom.

Morikawa defeated Justin Thomas in the playoffs at the Workday Charity Open for his first major win. Three weeks later he won the PGA Championship and, when the schedule moved to 2021, he added a world golf championship, the British Open and a stellar Ryder Cup to his resume.

And now, over the weekend, he’s become the first American to win the DP World Championship and the European Tour Order of Merit. He’s also getting closer to Jon Rahm in the world rankings to the point where his next victory will likely make him world No.1.

“Two and a half years ago, when I turned pro, I had no idea what life was going to put in front of me,” Morikawa said last week. “Obviously, the world has gone through a lot of changes. “

When he turned pro, Morikawa had ambitions to play on a global scale, but never in his wildest imagination did he imagine becoming the first American to win Europe’s highest honor or become honorary life member of the tour.

“It’s very special. It’s an honor, really, ”he told reporters in Dubai. “To be the first American to do this, to put my name against many, many greats – Hall of Famers – it’s special.”

Now Morikawa can sit back and enjoy the Las Vegas vacation and plan for 2022 and plan to climb even higher in the world of golf.

“The way my head is plugged in, I’m still looking for the sequel,” he said. “But I’ll try to take advantage of this one.”

UNLV signs two

The UNLV women’s team have signed letters of intent for two players, including one who will join the Rebels for the spring 2022 season.

Toa Yokoyama, a native of Japan who attends IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla., Graduates early and will be eligible to compete in the spring.

“We are very happy that Toa can join us early,” said coach Amy Bush-Herzer. “His experience of playing around the world will be added to our programming for our spring season. We are delighted that she is competing for us.

UNLV also signed Thienna Huynh, a Georgian high school student who is 56th in the American Junior Golf Association rankings. Bush-Herger said Huynh goes above and beyond as a golfer.

“We knew from the start that she was the right fit for UNLV,” said Bush-Herzer. “Thienna’s academic and athletic accomplishments will help us continue to be a premier program.”

Charity event

Eight local pros will each play 72 holes in a single day as part of a fundraiser for Ronald McDonald House Charities and the Southwest PGA Chapter Foundation.

The second annual Birdies for Good will take place Monday at the Eagle Crest Golf Course. For each birdie made, a donation is made to both associations via pledges that golfers receive.

Pledges can be made by visiting birdiesforgood.org/snv2021, finding the player you want to support and making a pledge for every birdie they make or a maximum donation total. The 2020 event raised more than $ 31,000.

Players participating this year include Kristen Allard (Bear’s Best), Thom Blinkinsop (Red Rock), Jim Delaney (Southern Highlands), Matt Henderson (TPC Las Vegas), Andrew Loving (GolfTEC / Henderson), Mike Magnera (Legacy), Tim Sam (GolfTEC / Spring Valley) and Sean Solodovnick (Five Iron Golf).

Greg Robertson covers golf for the Review-Journal. He can be contacted at [email protected].