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The Orion

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The Orion

Former Chico State Men’s golfer J.J. Jakovac caddies for Collin Morikawa in PGA Tour win

Photo+of+former+Chico+State+golfer+J.J.+Jakovac+at+home+after+the+ZOZO+Championship+win.+Photo+Credit%3A+Alejandro+Mejia+Mejia+via+Zoom
Photo of former Chico State golfer J.J. Jakovac at home after the ZOZO Championship win. Photo Credit: Alejandro Mejia Mejia via Zoom

On Sunday, Chico State alumni and former golfer J.J. Jakovac caddied for world No. 13 Collin Morikawa in his win at the ZOZO Championship, played at Accordia Golf Narashino Country Club in Japan.

Morikawa ended a nearly two-year winless drought with his 14-under 266 week in a six-shot victory.

“He [Morikawa] never really had a tournament like that where it was kind of evident he was going to win,” Jakocvac said. “I saw the scoreboard on 16 and I saw we were five [shots] in front, so it was sort of a victory lap, he was going to win and it was just the matter of how he did it.”

Jakovac also acknowledged the strong performance Morikawa gave. In the fourth round of the ZOZO Championship, Morikawa had a bogey-free round.

“It was a slow burn to get to where we were, then he made the last putt for birdie on the last hole and it was sort of … a little bit of relief,” Jakovac said. “It had been a while for him and I was just so happy for him.”

Jakovac began caddying for Morikawa in 2019. Jakovac was behind the bag when Morikawa won The Open Championship in 2021 at Royal St. George’s Golf Club. Which was his last win PGA Tour win.

Jakovac said being the caddie for Morikawa before he had his PGA Tour card in 2019, and Jakovac having experience with his previous caddie work, helped them create a relationship outside of the sport.

“I love the guy he’s a great kid,” Jakovac said. “He’s done all the right things by me and I see him [Morikawa] do the right things by other people.”

In the final round, Morikawa shot a 7-under 63 on the par 70 course, creating a six-shot lead with Eric Cole and Beau Hossler following behind Morikawa with 8-under 272 during the tournament week.

Morikawa also led the 77-person field with 24 birdies during the week and tied for third in green in regulation percentage at 73%.

During the streamed press conference following the final round, Morikawa showed gratitude to caddie Jakovac and how working together allowed Morikawa to win his latest PGA Tour win.

“He’s done more than probably what I could have even asked for as a caddie, and that is saying a lot,” Morikawa said. “It’s not like these guys are just carrying a bag … he’s right there.”

Morikawa also spoke about their relationship as friends and Jacovak being his mentor.

“I have a friendship with him and a respect for him too that goes beyond the golf course,” Jakovac said. “I teared up, I was emotional because you don’t see that very often between a player and a caddie, it was really cool to see and honor.”

Jakovac himself was looked at during his college years as an “up-and-coming golfer.” Throughout his time at Chico State, from 2000-2004, he won two National Collegiate Athletic Association Division II level championships, was a three-time All-American and won the 2004 Jack Nicklaus Award for the most outstanding collegiate golfer.

Photo of former Chico State Men’s golfer J.J. Jakovac putting on the green. Jakovac was inducted into the California Collegiate Athletic Association in February of 2023. Photo Credit: Chico State Athletics

Earlier this year, the California Collegiate Athletic Association inducted Jakovac into the CCAA Hall of Fame. Jakovac is only the second Wildcat to be in the Hall of Fame, alongside soccer player Chris Wondolowski.

“You never take it for granted,” Jakovac said. “I have been fortunate to win as a caddie a lot of the time now, it never gets old. As far as getting into the CCAA Hall of Fame, it’s an honor, it’s great and I look forward to telling my kids about it when they get old enough to understand.”

After Morikawa winning the $1,530,000 first-place earnings at the ZOZO Championship, the PGA Tour continues its season with the World Wide Technology Championship at El Cardonal at Diamante in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.

Jakovac mentioned that he and Morikawa are going to take a longer offseason. He said that the ZOZO Championship will be the only PGA Tour event he will be playing this fall.

Morikawa plans on playing in the Hero World Challenge, hosted by Tiger Woods at Albany Golf Course in the Bahamas. For tickets to attend the event, visit here.

 

Alejandro Mejia Mejia can be reached at @mejiamejialex on X formerly known as Twitter and Jackson Elrod can also be contacted at [email protected]

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About the Contributors
Alejandro Mejia Mejia, Former Editor-in-Chief
Alejandro Mejia Mejia was born in Redding, California where he lived his entire life until he went to school at California State University, Chico [Chico State]. He is a transfer student from Shasta College where he obtained two A.A. University Studies degrees in Language Arts and Social Studies. In the Fall 2023 semester, he was the Editor-in-Chief for The Orion. He was also a sports reporter and sports editor for the news organization. He majored in Journalism within the News option and minored in Marketing. He likes watching Oklahoma City Thunder and Boston Red Sox games in his spare time.
Jackson Elrod, Reporter
Jackson Elrod is a journalism major and an English minor starting his third year at Chico State. He looks forward to his first semester on The Orion and to expand his writing skills. When he has no classes Jackson spends time hanging around with friends watching sports, movies or listening to music. After graduation Jackson is hoping to become a sports journalist for websites like The Athletic or ESPN.

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