Collin Morikawa is the new British Open Golf Champion. The 24-year old becomes the first player since Ben Curtis in 2003 to win the famous Claret Jug at the first attempt after a superb performance over four sunny days of golf at Royal St Georges in Kent, England.
Curtis also achieved his success at Royal St Georges and while he has struggled to live up to expectations following that win, it looks likely to be a very different story for the now two-time Major winner Morikawa.
It looks like we’ve got a new kid on the block! What an impressive day of golf—and tournament!—by @collin_morikawa. He continues to play well, play better, and show he is here to stay. My, what solid golf and great composure all day long at @TheOpen! pic.twitter.com/MeItmIF40z
— Jack Nicklaus (@jacknicklaus) July 18, 2021
Having won the USPGA Championship in 2020 in what was his first ever attempt, he has now done precisely the same at the British Open and many are predicting a very bright future for the collected American.
Morikawa began the final round on Sunday one shot behind the overnight leader Louis Oosthuizen, who was seeking his second Major win and a rare wire-to-wire victory having led the tournament from the opening day.
However, while Oosthuizen wilted in the heat of competition on Sunday shooting a 71, Morikawa produced a bogey-free round of 66, matching a number of his rivals to claim the famous Claret Jug and a richly deserved victory.
With 32,000 fans in attendance on the final day, they were treated to some spectacular golf after the hole placements were moved into slightly easier positions than they had been on Saturday.
With Jordan Spieth and Jon Rahm charging up the leaderboard, Morikawa took control of the tournament from the front as he approached the turn,landing a birdie at the 7th, 8th and 9th holes to put himself at the top of the leaderboard.
For a player only playing in his eight major, and given the calibre of players chasing him, you would have forgiven Morikawa for having a wobble in form and to let the occasion get the better of him.
“Champion Golfer of the Year” pic.twitter.com/mHbUm5C17W
— Collin Morikawa (@collin_morikawa) July 18, 2021
Two saved pars at 13 and 15 were crucial, especially with Spieth on the charge and sandwiched in between those was a crucial birdie.
Morikawa’s scrambling and putting over the last nine holes was superb and took him to a two-shot victory over Jordan Spieth in second. Oosthuizen had to settle for joint third with Rahm a further two shots behind.
“Best Crowds I Have Ever Seen”
After being presented with the famous Claret Jug as the Champion Golfer, Morikawa was quick to express his gratitude to the thousands of fans that turned up to witness his success.
“This is one of the best moments of my life,” he said in his speech following the win.
“Look at all these fans. To see some of the best crowds I have ever seen, I’m looking forward to making my trip every year.”
“I tell everyone that I am not the biggest history guy but I want to add myself to history and make memories for myself.”
“Everything about this week was very special, to cap it on my caddie’s birthday is even more special.”
He is the first golfer ever to win two Major tournaments in his first attempt at playing them and at the tender age of 24, it could just be that professional golf has found its next big superstar.