Collin Morikawa Wins the British Open in His First Appearance. Collin Morikawa has shown a lot of promise in the two years since he went professional. In capturing the Claret Jug, the 24-year-old from Southern California, competing in only his ninth major tournament, was as calm as he was faultless. He has the bravery of a 20-year-old, the cunning of a 30-year-old, and the wisdom of a 40-year-old.
He took the lead late in the front nine and held off Jordan Spieth down the stretch to win the 149th British Open in his maiden appearance and his second major triumph in only eight career appearances.
Collin Morikawa Wins the British Open in His First Appearance. Morikawa played a bogey-free 4-under 66 to finish at 15 under and two shots ahead of Spieth, who also shot 66. The 24-year-old, who made his PGA Championship debut in 2020, joined Bobby Jones as the only player since 1926 to win two majors in his first eight starts.
Morikawa, who won the 2020 PGA Championship at Harding Park in San Francisco, completed the week on 15-under par, two strokes ahead of Jordan Spieth and four strokes ahead of Louis Oosthuizen and Jon Rahm.
“I won the PGA, and then coming back as the defending champion, you just feel like you belong, that this is going to be a part of you for the rest of your life,” Morikawa said. “Regardless of what happens, the Open Championship will be a part of my life for the rest of my life. It’s incredible to be a part of history. ‘Champion Golfer of the Year’… goosebumps.”
Morikawa’s score of 265 stokes was the lowest in the Open’s 15 appearances at Royal St. George’s.
Morikawa became the first player to win two majors in his debut appearance, and the eighth to do it before the age of 25. Only Tiger Woods has won both the British and PGA Championships by the age of 25. Morikawa has two additional top-10 performances in majors, including a tie for fourth at the US Open last month.
Morikawa won the PGA after coming from behind with a final-round 64. He started the day one stroke behind Oosthuizen and finished with a 4-under 66. On the seventh hole, he took the lead from the 38-year-old South African and never looked back, never lost the lead, never came close to losing his nerve.
No one has won two majors in fewer starts since World War II. This was Morikawa’s 49th PGA Tour tournament as a professional, and he already has five wins — figures that remind Morikawa of Woods, who was his idol growing up.
Morikawa became the ninth player in history to win the British Open on his first try, with Ben Curtis doing it in 2003 at Royal St. George’s.
He was steadfast and unflappable.
He didn’t three-putt a single green all week, and he went the final 31 holes without making a bogey, the third-longest stretch by a major title winner. He ended the week with only four bogeys.
Sunday was simply another chapter in Oosthuizen’s increasing catalog of misery in his career. He has placed second in six major tournaments, including this year’s PGA and US Open.
Oosthuizen’s final round fell apart on the fatal par-5 seventh hole, where he skulled a greenside bunker shot over the green and into another bunker to a terrible lay. He’d make a bogey on the hole, while Morikawa birdied it.
Morikawa’s two-shot swing gave him a two-shot lead, which he swiftly increased to three strokes when he birdied the eighth hole to establish a three-shot lead. He was never going to look back.
Spieth’s prospects were harmed the most on Saturday when he bogeyed the final two holes of his third round from the fairway, highlighted by a missed 18-inch par putt on the 18th.
Morikawa was a Cal-Berkeley student 26 months ago. He now has five victories in his two years as a pro, including two majors and a World Golf Championship. The victory propelled him to third place in the world.
J.J. Jakovac, his caddy, summed up his man well when he stated, “His physical talents are off the charts, but psychologically he’s an old soul, he’s very grown-up for his age.” He appears to have been there before, even if he hasn’t.”
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