This time there were people to cheer him on.
The American finished with a bogey without a bogey, 4 under 66 and won the British Open in his debut on Sunday, becoming the first player to capture two different majors on the first attempt.
His victory 11 months ago in his first PGA Championship came in the first major tournament without spectators amid the coronavirus pandemic.
So it was a very different scenario for Morikawa, a mature Californian beyond his years, as he took one of the greatest golf rides on the 18th fairway at Royal St. George’s, first under the applause, then to a standing ovation.
After tapping the par to win with two shots at Jordan Spieth, he punched in before applauding the spectators in the huge grandstand around the 18th green, part of a crowd of 32,000 who attended. enjoyed pristine weather around the links off Sandwich Bay.
“I’m obviously very biased to be from the United States, but I see some of the best crowds I’ve ever seen here,” Morikawa said.
They got to see a player make a historic start in his major league career.
Morikawa is halfway to a career Grand Slam after eight starts and the first player since Bobby Jones in 1926 to win two majors in so few appearances. He follows Gene Sarazen, Jones, Jack Nicklaus, Seve Ballesteros, Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Spieth by winning several majors before turning 25.
His total of 15 under 265 was a record 72 holes in 15 British Open at Royal St. George’s.
And he’s done it in style, pulling iron shots for birdies or stress-free parries and moving around on the rare occasions he’s had trouble.
Starting the last lap one stroke off Louis Oosthuizen, Morikawa was tied for the lead after four holes, then netting three consecutive birdies on the No.7-9 to pass the South African, who hadn’t trailed since the 12th. hole of his second round. .
Morikawa made key saves at numbers 10 and 15, between which he rolled a birdie putt and over a ridge and in the cup on the 14th to build himself a two-stroke lead he never has. lost. Spieth parried his last four holes and also shot 66.
Reaching par to last after another perfect practice, Morikawa played his last 31 bogeyless holes on a course that baffled many great players due to its quirky rebounds and wavy fairways.
All the more remarkable since it was his first big test on a seaside connection. Morikawa knew little about this style of golf before playing the Scottish Open last week at the Renaissance Club, which isn’t a traditional links but had the kind of tight lies and rolling terrain that set him up for it.
He even had three new irons in his bag this week.
For Oosthuizen, who was chasing a end-to-end victory and a second burgundy jug – he picked up a smashing victory at St. Andrews in 2010 – it was another near miss in a career full of them. He finished second this year at the PGA Championship and the US Open, two of his six second places in major tournaments.
This time Oosthuizen finished third with US Open champion Jon Rahm (66) after closing with a 71 – his first round did not come in the 60s this week. He never recovered from losing his lead with an ugly bogey on the seventh par-5 hole. He caught way too much of the ball with his third shot from a bunker on the green, which bounced off the putting surface and landed in a bunker on the other side.
Morikawa birdied the hole routine to take two leads over Oosthuizen. Spieth had eagle at No. 7 a few minutes earlier.
Spieth, the 2017 British Open champion at Royal Birkdale, has had his closest appeal in a major since then. In the end, his bogey-bogey finish on Saturday left him too far behind perfect Morikawa.
“Just the finish yesterday,” Spieth said. “If I had finished the par-par, I would have been in the final group. And if you’re in the final group, you feel like you’re in control. Obviously, those two shots were important.
Steve Douglas is on https://twitter.com/sdouglas80
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