A new breed of superstar - Collin Morikawa wins US PGA

The 23-year-old produced a final round 64 in what was only his second major appearance

Collin Morikawa drops the top of the Wanamaker Trophy after winning his first major. Photograph: AP

Collin Morikawa drops the top of the Wanamaker Trophy after winning his first major. Photograph: AP

 

Ultimately there was no need for the kind of US PGA Championship playoff that could have risked social distancing infractions. Of the wave of data that will now surround Collin Morikawa, golf’s latest major winner, one element stands out: just 15 months ago he was a college student.

Morikawa marched through a congested Sunday scene at Harding Park, which had frequently seen six- and seven-way ties for the lead. He produced the shot of the tournament, just when it mattered, with a towering drive to within 2.5 metres (8ft) of the par four 16th hole’s pin.

As he slammed home his putt for an eagle, the Wanamaker Trophy was his barring meltdown. The 23-year-old, who has turned heads since joining the professional ranks last summer, won the US PGA by two at 13 under par. His final round of 64 emphasises a nerveless approach in what was only his second major appearance.

It isn’t supposed to be this straightforward.

If we didn’t already know, it is now staring us in the face: golf has a new breed of superstar, with Morikawa at the forefront. He has missed as many cuts as a professional – one – as he has claimed major titles. Confirmation that he has leapt inside the world’s top five is likely to arrive on Monday morning.

“It’s amazing,” he said. “It’s been a life goal, obviously as a little kid, kind of watching everyone as I grew up, all these professionals, and this is always what I’ve wanted to do. I felt very comfortable from the start.

“As an amateur, junior golfer, turning professional last year, but to finally close it off and come out here in San Francisco, pretty much my second home where I spent the last four years, is pretty special.”

Collin Morikawa with his caddie Jonathan Jakovac on the 18th hole. Photograph: AP
Collin Morikawa with his caddie Jonathan Jakovac on the 18th hole. Photograph: AP

Fortune favoured Morikawa. On the 14th, a drive bound for tricky rough instead bounced almost at right angles into the fairway. Two shots later, Morikawa was chipping in for a crucial birdie. His only subsequent misstep was an amusing and minor one: Morikawa lifted the trophy with such vigour that the lid flew off.

Paul Casey, two decades Morikawa’s senior, emerged as the champion’s biggest threat. Casey posted a Sunday 66, as proved eight shots better than his playing partner, Brooks Koepka. As the defending champion, Koepka made rather a lot of noise about upstaging Dustin Johnson on the US PGA’s day four. Johnson holed the final putt of the tournament to join Casey at 11 under. Too little, too late, was the cry. Koepka simply capitulated.

Casey, who returned just a single day four bogey, did little wrong. Morikawa proved too good, as is likely to become a theme. “Collin thoroughly deserves it,” said Casey. “I played phenomenal golf and there’s nothing I would change. I’m very, very happy with how I played. I had a great attitude, stayed very calm and stayed in the present. It wasn’t enough.”

A leaderboard smattered with youthful vigour saw Matthew Wolff and Scottie Scheffler finish fourth. Cameron Champ, for so long an integral part of proceedings, tied 10th. There were old hands on sight: Jason Day shared fourth at 10 under. Justin Rose finished a shot further back and ninth.

Back-to-back 66s over the weekend meant Bryson DeChambeau matched Day, Wolff, Scheffler and Tony Finau. To DeChambeau, this result “super validates” lockdown work has totally transformed his physique and led to an increase in power. “I played great golf this whole week,” DeChambeau said. “I was finally able to finish in the top five in a major. That’s an awesome accolade and next step is to win. I feel like my game is good enough.”

Rory McIlroy signed off with a 68, meaning a tie for 33rd. More notable than fourth round birdies and bogeys was McIlroy’s legitimate swipe at Koepka, who had cast aspersions towards Johnson’s single major success during Saturday media duties. “I was watching the golf last night and heard the interview and was just sort of taken aback a little bit by what he said,” McIlroy admitted. “Whether he was trying to play mind games or not … if he’s trying to play mind games, he’s trying to do it to the wrong person. I don’t think DJ really gives much of a concern to that.

“I certainly try to respect everyone out here. Everyone is a great player. If you’ve won a major championship, you’re a hell of a player. Doesn’t mean you’ve ‘only’ won one; you’ve won one, and you’ve had to do a lot of good things to do that. It’s sort of hard to knock a guy that’s got 21 wins on the PGA Tour, which is three times what Brooks has.”

Koepka is unlikely to rethink his strategy but McIlroy’s sentiment was solid.

Meanwhile fellow Irishman Shane Lowry finished three over par after a final round 74. Already well out of the mix, the British Open champion lost his way on the final five holes with two bogeys and a double bogey on the 16th, leaving him in a tie for 66th place. - Guardian

Final round scores and totals in The US PGA Championship (USA unless stated, par 70):

267 Collin Morikawa 69 69 65 64

269 Dustin Johnson 69 67 65 68, Paul Casey (Eng) 68 67 68 66

270 Tony Finau 67 70 67 66, Jason Day (Aus) 65 69 70 66, Matthew Wolff 69 68 68 65, Scottie Scheffler 66 71 65 68, Bryson DeChambeau 68 70 66 66

271 Justin Rose (Eng) 66 68 70 67

272 Joel Dahmen 69 68 68 67, Xander Schauffele 66 70 69 67, Cameron Champ 71 64 67 70

273 Daniel Berger 67 67 70 69, Jon Rahm (Spa) 70 69 68 66, Si Woo Kim (Kor) 69 68 68 68, Patrick Reed 68 70 69 66

274 Haotong Li (Chn) 67 65 73 69, Brendon Todd 65 70 72 67

275 Lanto Griffin 68 68 71 68, Kevin Kisner 67 73 68 67, Harris English 69 71 69 66

276 Brendan Steele 66 71 72 67, Hideki Matsuyama (Jpn) 70 67 69 70, Adam Scott (Aus) 68 70 70 68, Alex Noren (Swe) 67 69 73 67, Byeong-Hun An (Kor) 72 69 71 64, Ian Poulter (Eng) 73 68 66 69, Victor Perez (Fra) 70 69 69 68

277 Brooks Koepka 66 68 69 74, Doc Redman 73 67 70 67, Harold Varner III 72 66 69 70, Tommy Fleetwood (Eng) 70 64 70 73

278 Rory McIlroy (Irl) 70 69 71 68, Viktor Hovland (Nor) 68 71 73 66, Louis Oosthuizen (Rsa) 70 71 70 67, Dylan Frittelli (Rsa) 70 67 70 71

279 Bud Cauley 66 71 73 69, Justin Thomas 71 70 68 70, Tiger Woods 68 72 72 67, Russell Henley 71 69 71 68, Nate Lashley 69 70 70 70, Webb Simpson 71 68 68 72

280 Mike Lorenzo-Vera (Fra) 66 68 72 74, Ryan Palmer 74 66 76 64, Patrick Cantlay 73 68 66 73, Abraham Ancer (Mex) 69 70 72 69, Cameron Smith (Aus) 71 69 70 70, Billy Horschel 69 71 71 69, Keith Mitchell 68 72 68 72, Bernd Wiesberger (Aut) 68 68 70 74

281 Kurt Kitayama 68 72 70 71, Luke List 72 69 70 70, Mark Hubbard 70 71 70 70, Joost Luiten (Ned) 71 68 73 69, Adam Long 73 68 72 68, Erik Van Rooyen (Rsa) 71 70 74 66, Brandt Snedeker 72 66 72 71

282 Denny McCarthy 70 69 70 73, Charl Schwartzel (Rsa) 73 68 68 73, Gary Woodland 67 72 73 70, Adam Hadwin (Can) 68 71 70 73, Mackenzie Hughes (Can) 73 68 69 72, Brian Harman 68 71 71 72, Tom Hoge 72 68 72 70, Kevin Streelman 69 70 73 70

283 Emiliano Grillo (Arg) 70 70 70 73, Rory Sabbatini (Svk) 71 70 72 70, Sepp Straka (Aut) 70 71 71 71, Shane Lowry (Irl) 68 72 69 74, Robert Macintyre (Sco) 73 67 74 69

284 Phil Mickelson 72 69 70 73, Danny Lee (Nzl) 69 71 74 70, Bubba Watson 70 71 73 70, Jordan Spieth 73 68 76 67

286 JT Poston 67 74 75 70, Chez Reavie 71 70 75 70

287 Matt Wallace (Eng) 71 70 74 72, Jim Herman 71 69 72 75

290 Sung Kang (Kor) 70 71 76 73

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