Collin Morikawa makes history with Open victory after dramatic final round
Posted On July 18, 2021
The 24-year-old entered the final day of the major with one shot behind Louis Oosthuizen, but a streak of three consecutive birdies over the last nine helped propel the American past the South African, who had topped the standings in the standings. during the three previous tournament. days.
Morikawa produced stable and brilliant golf at Royal St George’s in Kent, UK, to withstand lingering challenges from Spieth, Oosthuizen and Jon Rahm and finish 15 under par on a thrilling day of golf at the famous major .
In his first appearance at the UK major tournament, Morikawa became the first man to win both the PGA Championship and the Open on his tournament debut.
Just over two years ago, Morikawa was ranked 1039th in the world after finishing tied for 14th at the RBC Canadian Open in June 2019. He is now a two-time major winner.
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Before the last day of action, it was almost impossible to pick a winner between Oosthuizen, Morikawa and Spieth.
Despite a shooting advantage, Oosthuizen has developed an unfortunate habit of failing at the last hurdle in recent years. And that’s what turned out, with two bogeys out of the top nine, knocking the South African down in the standings.
Morikawa jumped up to take advantage, coming in with three straight birdies to close the final nine that gave him a four-stroke lead before moments later a birdie from Spieth reduced the lead to three.
There was never any question of a plane for the American.
If overnight leader Oosthuizen fainted in the last 18 holes, three-time major winner Spieth came back to his best as he raced to the top of the standings.
The 27-year-old American’s putter was hot and his chipping smart as he recovered from a few early backhands to put some pressure on Morikawa.
Oosthuizen produced a moment of magic when he hit the flag on the difficult 11th hole par three, just millimeters from a memorable hole-in-one.
Meanwhile, defending US Open champion Rahm was building his own push for the coveted Claret Jug.
An eagle on the 7th hole and a series of four birdies in a row on the back nine helped him climb the standings and made the 26-year-old Spaniard dream of a second consecutive major.
But Morikawa was unfazed. Despite his youth and relative lack of experience in major tournaments – he’s only played seven before this weekend – Morikawa calmly took out his rivals.
He kept his driving precise, his iron shots precise and his hits as he tackled all the challenges that the delicate course of the Royal St George could offer.
And under the blinding English sun as the UK experienced a mini-heatwave, Morikawa was able to tap the historic 18th hole putt to be crowned 149th Open champion.
The American is the first player to win the Open in his debut since Ben Curtis in 2003 at Royal St. George’s.
Morikawa also became the second player to win the Open and the PGA Championship before the age of 25 – the only other golfer to have achieved this feat is Tiger Woods.
Close but not enough
For Morikawa’s rivals, it was a close affair, but not a cigar.
Oosthuizen, who won the Open in 2010, has now tied for second or second in six different majors.
And this week, despite finishing atop the standings for three quarters of the Open, he passed out once again in the final round. For one of the most beloved golfers it was once again heartbreaking as the South African finished tied for third.
As for Spieth, who was looking for his first major win since 2017 after a long stretch with a few struggles, the American has shown he is again a force to be reckoned with.
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Spieth was magnificent in all aspects of his game, cutting the course as he put pressure on compatriot Morikawa.
But that wasn’t quite enough on Sunday as Morikawa was able to hold on to be crowned champion golfer of the year.
Following the victory, Morikawa moved up to No. 1 in the FedExCup and No. 3 in the world rankings.