Rookie Collin Morikawa fended off a charge from Jordan Spieth to win the 149th British Open by two strokes after a scintillating final at Royal St. George’s.
At just 24, Morikawa won his second major with a bogey-less round of 66 to finish at 15 under par.
The American had never even played in tie conditions until last week’s Scottish Open where he tied for 71st, the worst finish of his professional career.
But the world number four showed no signs of inexperience as he reveled in the sweltering conditions as temperatures soared to 30 degrees Celsius in Sandwich on England’s south-east coast.
His flawless victory created several pieces of amazing history, including:
– Become the ninth person to win the British Open on their first attempt, the first to do so since 2003; and
– A new record as the only golf player to win two majors as a rookie after also winning the 2020 USPGA Championship
– Become the second person, alongside Tiger Woods, to win these two majors before the age of 25
– Becoming the first man since 1934 to win two majors in his first eight appearances.
Night leader Louis Oosthuizen’s bogey in the fourth gave Morikawa a share of the lead and he never looked back after a two-stroke swing in the seventh by five.
Oosthuizen, who finished 11 under in a share of third with Jon Rahm, twice found bunkers around the green to drop another shot.
“It was by far one of the best times of my life,” said the world number four, who handled the pressure with ease in front of a crowd of 32,000 fans returning from the Open Championship after a two hiatus. years caused by the coronavirus pandemic. . “
Its silky and calm final turn blew away golfing experts the world over.
Collin Morikawa looks like a young golf genius, doesn’t he? Pure class edgy display to win the Open.
– Ian Darke (@IanDarke) July 18, 2021
Morikawa added: âTo see some of the best crowds I’ve ever seen, I look forward to my trip every year to the British Open to see you guys.
âSince being a pro, I believe in myself that I can do it.
“When it comes to those tournaments, classes and styles that I’ve never played before, I do my homework Monday through Wednesday to find out what to do.”
A moment of horror cost Jordan Spieth an extraordinary victory
Spieth regretted his sloppy finish in the third round on Saturday when bogeys at the last two holes saw him start the second day behind Morikawa.
âThe finish yesterday was about as upsetting as I finished a round at home,â said the three-time major winner.
âI walked in and said, ‘Is there something I can break? I knew it was so important because I would have been in the final group. The 2017 British Open champion fell back to seven under after losing two more shots in the fourth and sixth before roaring back.
An eagle in the seventh set Spieth’s challenge and he finished the last 12 holes in six under par with further birdies in the ninth, 10th, 13th and 14th.
âI’m proud to have lost six points in the last 12 of this golf tournament and to have put some pressure on Collin,â added Spieth. “I did all I could.” But Morikawa never flinched to become the first man to win two majors on his debut at that event.
Rahm also showed why he was the pre-tournament favorite after clinching his first major at last month’s US Open with a brilliant 66 that could have been a lot better but for a better day with the putter.
The Spaniard needed a seventh-place eagle to get him started, but just ran out of holes after four straight birdies between 13 and 16.
Oosthuizen’s wait for a second major tournament continues as he finishes in the top three for the eighth time since his only success at the 2010 British Open in St Andrews.
South African Dylan Frittelli, who was only called to the field as an 11th reserve on Monday, was fifth with nine under.
World number one Dustin Johnson finished tied for eighth in seven under.
Final results of the 2021 British Open ranking
265 – Collin Morikawa (United States) 67 64 68 66
267 – Jordan Spieth (United States) 65 67 69 66
269 ââ- Louis Oosthuizen (RSA) 64 65 69 71, Jon Rahm (ESP) 71 64 68 66
271 – Dylan Frittelli (RSA) 66 67 70 68
272 – Mackenzie Hughes (CAN) 66 69 68 69, Brooks Koepka (USA) 69 66 72 65
273 – Daniel Berger (United States) 70 67 68 68, Dustin Johnson (United States) 68 65 73 67, Robert MacIntyre 72 69 65 67, Scottie Scheffler (United States) 67 66 69 71