Sandwich, England – Collin Morikawa arrived in England having never teed it up at an Open Championship, and he walked of the 72nd hole on Sunday at Royal St.George’s with two hands wrapped around the Claret Jug. In doing so, he pulled off a feat unseen in modern times – two major victories in only eight attempts. Morikawa’s 4 under par 66 on Sunday and 15 under-par (265 total) was good for a two-stroke victory over Jordan Spieth. Asked afterward about what he could have done differently, Spieth lamented the two late bogeys on Saturday (that included a missed two-foot putt on the last).
Precision from tee to green is the former Cal Golden Bear standout’s calling card, but in the 149th Open Championship Morikawa won in large part because of his work with the flatstick (he led the Open Championship with just 111 putts and didn’t have a three-putt all week). As far as winning The Open in his first try, earlier in the week he told Golf Channel’s Todd Lewis, “I’m not making the trip over here to experience the Open or learn about it, I’m two years in as a pro now – yes its a tournament I’ve never played, but I’ve done this for two years. I show up to tournaments and venues, this is a little different – it’s farther away from home, but the belief is still there. The end goal is to win.”
Morikawa showed a remarkable ability to adapt and adjust after a lackluster showing the week before at the Scottish Open. The 24-year-old California native continues to show maturity beyond his years, a remarkable ability to focus on hitting the right shot at the right time – a keen sense of the moment. He also set a new record for the lowest score at Royal St George’s, his 265 strokes beat Greg Norman’s 1993 total score by two.
“I just enjoy these moments,” Morikawa said as the secret to success. “I talk about it so much that we love what we do and you have to embrace it. You have to be excited about these opportunities, and that’s how I looked at it today, especially coming down the stretch.
“At 24 years old, it’s so hard to look back at the two short years that I have been a pro and see what I’ve done because I want more. I enjoy these moments and I love it, and I want to teach myself to embrace it a little more… but I just want more.
“When you’re in these moments and you truly love what you do, which I love playing golf and competing against these guys, these are the best moments ever.”
He joined Gene Sarazen, Bobby Jones, Jack Nicklaus, Seve Ballesteros, Woods, Rory McIlroy, and Jordan Spieth as the only players in the last 100 years with multiple major wins before age 25. He also joined Woods as the only players to win The Open and PGA Championship before age 25. Morikawa moves to the top spot in the Fedex Cup standings and to No.3 in the Official World Golf Ranking.
Jon Rahm and 54 hole leader Louis Oosthuizen finished in a tie for third at 11 under par.