Collin Morikawa made great history at Royal St George’s when he made his Open debut with a great one-two over Jordan Spieth.
Morikawa, winner of last year’s PGA Championship in just his second major appearance, overcame the captivating challenges of Spieth and Jon Rahm to become the first player in history to win two different majors straight away.
The ultra-composed 24-year-old fired a bogey-free 66 to take the win to 15 under par, with Spieths 66 earning him a second place while Louis Oosthuizen suffered more heartbreak when he stumbled on final 71 and had to make do himself with a podium finish with 11 under with cream.
To emulate the debut win of 500/1 underdog Ben Curtis on the sandwich links 18 years ago, Morikawa started the final lap one stroke behind Oosthuizen and soon found himself tied at the top as the South African pulled his approach to fourth place and was par. cannot be saved
Morikawa is the first player to win two majors straight away.
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Spieth dropped four and six shots, only to go back into the race with a brilliant eagle on seventh, where there was a swing with two shots in the last pairing when Oosthuizen thinned out his bunker over the green and won six while Morikawa interrupted his pars with his first birdie of the day.
Knowing that he now had a two-stroke advantage over his playing partner, Morikawa resisted the temptation to defend his lead and built it up with further birdies at eight and nine to go four clean, although Spieth reduced the deficit to three, when he voted in ninth and tenth places where Morikawa fought off a par clutch.
Oosthuizen fired up his hopes with a stunning tee to 11th that rattled the pin and pitched his first birdie, but Spieth was the man who put the pressure on the leader and the 2017 champion closed the gap in one fell swoop, as he rolled in consecutive 6-footers for birdies on 13 and 14.
But Morikawa responded with a nerveless 20-foot putt for a priceless foursome in long 14th place when Rahm stuck a hole-in-one on short 16 in the middle of a spectacular late attack.
Rahms rally would miss as the favorite closed pre-tournament pars at 17 and 18 to complete a 66 and take the clubhouse lead with 11 under, and Spieth missed a big chance to reduce Morikawa’s lead again when he did Pushing his approach to 12 feet on the penultimate hole just read too much break in the birdie putt.
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Morikawa’s determination and composure stayed intact as he negotiated 15 and 16 in pars, and Spieth couldn’t make his compatriot’s triumph a little less comfortable as he finished 18th with 66-13 under par for the week and his best result all in one Major parried the championship since winning at Royal Birkdale four years ago.
Another cast iron par on the 17th gave Morikawa the relative luxury of having a two shot advantage to hit the 72nd hole, and after another straight shot found the center of the fairway, he drilled his second to 25 feet, before soaking up the applause from the bumper galleries with victory a mere formality.
Two putts later it was official and a decent result in a year of historically significant results, while Oosthuizen had to contemplate yet another fall as he parried the final four holes to earn a share of the third with cream. the man who ousted him to the US Open title last month.
Brooks Koepka had previously threatened the course record when he raced to five under on a third of his final lap that day, but he was disappointed when he ended up with six straight pars for a 65, which left him seven strokes behind the champion.
World number 1 Dustin Johnson returned with a 67 to finish seven under, along with aspiring Scots Bob MacIntyre, who had a 67 in both Open appearances that could have been a few lower if he hadn’t pulled can his tee shot shot out on the 14th.
After two years in the possession of the Claret Jug, Royal Portrush Champion Shane Lowry’s strong title defense ended with a 69 and a creditable tie for 12th place on six under par.