Morikawa’s rise continues as he holds off Thomas in thrilling playoff

23-year-old wins second PGA Tour event tobanish memory of last month’s loss

Collin Morikawa of the United States celebrates with the winner’s trophy after the final round of the Workday Charity Open  at Muirfield Village Golf Club in Dublin, Ohio. Photograph:  Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

Collin Morikawa of the United States celebrates with the winner’s trophy after the final round of the Workday Charity Open at Muirfield Village Golf Club in Dublin, Ohio. Photograph: Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

 

Collin Morikawa narrowly avoided another playoff heartbreak on Sunday, defeating Justin Thomas in a tightly contested bout at the Workday Charity Open in Dublin, Ohio.

The 23-year-old, who suffered a playoff loss at the Charles Schwab Challenge last month, hung on to claim his second PGA Tour win in just 24 starts after his fellow American Thomas bogeyed the 16th and 18th to send the pair into extra play.

“Justin wasn’t going to give it to me. He was fighting through the entire day,” said Morikawa after clinching the win. “I’m excited right now, I’m so happy.”

Tied at 19 under par after four rounds, the pair put on a putting masterclass on the first playoff hole for birdies, with Thomas letting out a roar after sinking a more than 50-foot putt.

But Thomas, the 2017 PGA Championship winner who had been flawless through the first three rounds at Muirfield Village Golf Club, missed the fairway on the third playoff hole and got stuck behind a tree, and it was Morikawa who kept his nerve for the win.

“Those three holes were a grind, obviously Justin making that birdie putt on that first playoff hole, I had to make it, or else we go home again,” said Morikawa. “I just got a little more comfortable throughout the playoff . . . Two playoffs now, and finally got one done.”

It was a bitter loss for Thomas, however, who had a two-stroke lead over Norwegian Viktor Hovland going into Sunday and had appeared nearly unstoppable as only the third player ever to go bogey-free through 54 holes at Muirfield.

“I just can’t beat myself up, although it’s going to be pretty hard not to, at least the rest of this afternoon,” Thomas told reporters. “I just need to execute better.”

Third-place finisher Hovland, who has not finished outside the top 25 since the tour returned from Covid-19 hiatus, called the tournament “a learning experience”.

“I’ve just got to go back to what I do and get a little bit better at putting and just get a little bit better with my whole game,” he said.

Graeme McDowell carded a level-par 72 in his final round to finish on five under and a share of 35th position.

Shane Lowry was a further shot back on four under after a fine closing round of three-under 69.

Final leaderboard

USA unless stated, par 72, (a) denotes amateurs

269 Collin Morikawa 65 66 72 66 (Morikawa won playoff at third extra hole), Justin Thomas 68 66 66 69

273 Viktor Hovland (Nor) 69 67 66 71

274 Chase Seiffert 68 69 70 67

276 Ian Poulter (Eng) 68 69 69 70, Gary Woodland 73 68 66 69

277 Jason Day (Aus) 69 71 70 67, Charley Hoffman 74 68 68 67, Sam Ryder 70 72 66 69, Russell Henley 70 70 70 67, Billy Horschel 72 69 70 66, Patrick Cantlay 70 72 70 65, Kevin Streelman 70 64 71 72

278 Sepp Straka (Aut) 69 70 69 70, Matt Jones (Aus) 69 72 67 70, Xander Schauffele 69 73 66 70

279 Rory Sabbatini (Svk) 69 68 69 73, Talor Gooch 71 68 71 69, Sam Burns 69 66 70 74, Stewart Cink 72 69 68 70, Chez Reavie 70 72 70 67

280 Jerry Kelly 75 67 68 70, Hideki Matsuyama (Jpn) 67 68 72 73, MJ Daffue (Rsa) 73 69 65 73, Rickie Fowler 72 69 66 73, Troy Merritt 69 72 67 72

281 Roger Sloan (Can) 68 73 70 70, Jon Rahm (Esp) 72 70 75 64, Brian Gay 71 71 68 71, Matthew Fitzpatrick (Eng) 73 69 71 68

282 Henrik Norlander (Swe) 70 69 71 72, Joaquin Niemann (Chi) 69 72 73 68, Zach Johnson 67 74 69 72, Tim Wilkinson (Nzl) 68 72 72 70

283 Richy Werenski 71 67 74 71, Graeme McDowell (N Irl) 68 73 70 72, Kyoung-hoon Lee (Kor) 71 71 74 67, Adam Hadwin (Can) 66 73 76 68

284 Adam Schenk 72 70 71 71, Matt Wallace (Eng) 72 70 75 67, Pat Perez 68 72 72 72, Austin Cook 70 70 75 69, Matt Kuchar 69 69 74 72, Keegan Bradley 69 71 74 70, Shane Lowry (Irl) 69 72 74 69, Corey Conners (Can) 71 69 74 70, Patrick Reed 68 70 76 70

285 Chris Stroud 71 71 71 72, Cheng-Tsung Pan (Tai) 73 69 73 70, Mackenzie Hughes (Can) 70 68 72 75, Nick Taylor (Can) 67 71 76 71

286 Brendan Steele 69 70 71 76, Adam Long 68 73 72 73, JJ Spaun 73 69 73 71, Chesson Hadley 73 69 71 73

287 Steve Stricker 69 70 73 75, Jason Dufner 69 72 71 75

288 Phil Mickelson 73 69 74 72, Andrew Putnam 69 73 76 70, Scott Stallings 74 68 71 75

289 Carlos Ortiz (Mex) 74 68 74 73, Bronson Burgoon 74 68 69 78

290 Sungjae Im (Kor) 72 70 71 77

291 Si Woo Kim (Kor) 71 71 72 77

292 Peter Malnati 68 72 84 68, Louis Oosthuizen (Rsa) 68 70 79 75

295 Cameron Champ 70 72 75 78

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