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Morikawa returns 'home' to Kapalua with fond childhood memories

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There was nothing else on Collin Morikawa's mind following his win last summer at the Barracuda Championship. Just happiness.

But not long after did he begin thinking about all the perks that came with being a PGA Tour winner, one of which was a spot in this week's Sentry Tournament of Champions at the Plantation Course. Unlike many of the stops on Tour, Morikawa has a track record at Kapalua.

"I played it when I was like 9 [years old], so it's been a while," Morikawa said. "I don't remember really anything from what I played it when I was nine. I just remember sitting right outside the clubhouse taking a family picture, and that's about it."

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Morikawa's paternal grandparents were born in Hawaii, on Maui to be exact. He's got plenty of cousins, aunts and uncles who still live in the islands, and he made many trips back during his childhood.

"It just feels so relaxing, so much like home, and it's just such a good place to be," said Morikawa, who is making his first start since finishing T-22 at the Zozo Championship in October.

A few years ago, Morikawa came to Hawaii for New Years and recalls seeing the tournament courtesy cars, thinking "maybe one day I'm going to be that player" in one of those cars.

"It happens this year that I'm over here with a courtesy car driving around whether it be Lahaina, Sun Street, whatever, and I'm one of those players now," Morikawa said. "So it's kind of come full circle where as a little kid I'd look up, see these guys in these cars and now we're here."