American Collin Morikawa celebrated being a two-time major champion on Sunday after shooting a 66 in the final round of the British Open Championship. At 24, Morikawa kissed the claret jug as he lifted it into the air while the crowds cheered.
After jumping ahead of the pack, Collin Morikawa finished the final round and the championship at 4-under 66. The win also made Morikawa the only player to ever have won two majors on his first attempt. Morikawa first major win was at the 2020 PGA Championship, only that win was without spectators as it came during the height of the COVID 19 pandemic.
A native of California, Morikawa received applause and a standing ovation as he walked down the 18th fairway. Morikawa had a comfortable two stroke lead heading into the final hole and ended his historical win by finishing the 18th on par. Immediately thereafter, he gave the 32,000 in attendance a fist pump.
“I am obviously very biased being from the U.S., but I’m seeing some of the best crowds I have ever seen out here.”
After a prolonged absence of spectators, those in attendance got to witness history in the making. After eight starts, Morikawa is halfway towards a Grand Slam and the first since 1926 when Booby Jones achieved the feat. The only other players to win multiple majors before the age of 25 is Tiger Woods, Jack Nicklaus, Gene Sarazen, Rory McIlroy, Jordon Spieth, Booby Jones and Seve Ballesteros.
Along with winning his second major, Morikawa’s 15-under 265 score was the best since 2004 at the British Open. From start to finish, the Californian was on point recording birdies and rarely finding himself in trouble.
While Louis Oosthuizen began the day with a one shot lead, it wasn’t long before Morikawa tied the lead and then jumped ahead after making three back-to-back birdies on the seventh, eighth and ninth hole.
Morikawa also managed par saves on the tenth and fiftieth, and with a par finish on the fourteenth, that put him ahead by two strokes, an advantage he never gave up. Adding to the brilliant played final round, Morikawa was bogey free for the last 31 holes played.
More remarkable was he was playing a course infamous for its up’ and down’s and strong winds, a course he knew little about and the style of golf needed before playing at the Scottish Open. Yet, it was enough it seems to prepare him for lay ahead at the British Open.
Louis Oosthuizen, who won his first Open in 2010, started the day in the lead was hoping for his second, had to settle for a third place tie with Jon Rahm. Oosthuizen, whose career has been full of up’s and downs, also fell short at this years U.S. Open and PGA Championship.
While Oosthuizen has four other second place finishes at major events, he was never able to recover after losing his concentration over fifth hole bogey. After catching too much ball from a bunker shot, he watched in vain as his ball bounced on the green and off to the other side of the green.
That error saw Morikawa making a birdie and moving two shots ahead of Oosthuizen. Seven minutes last, Jordan Spieth scored an eagle on the same hole. Spieth, who won the British Open Championship in 2017, was as close to the hunt as he had been since his win in 2017. However, his bogey finish was not enough to close the gap and catch up to Morikawa.
“Just the finish yesterday. Had I finished par-par, I’d have been in the final group. And if you’re in the final group, you feel like you have control. Obviously, those two strokes were important.”
Before heading to the World Golf Championships at Kiawah Island in South Carolina, the PGA will roll into the Twin Cities for the 3M Open. For golf punters hoping to see and place bets on whether Morikawa will make a career Grand Slam, they will have to wait until next season when the PGA Tour rolls into the Augusta National in April and the PGA Championships in May.