Collin Morikawa says his British Open victory on debut was one of the “best moments” of his life after a nerveless display from the 24-year-old American at Royal St George’s this past Sunday had him win by two shots on 15 under par.
Resuming one stroke behind overnight leader Louis Oosthuizen, Morikawa fired a bogey-free round of 66 to finish four under par for the day and hold off a late surge from 2017 British Open champion Jordan Spieth.
“This is by far one of the best moments of my life,” said world No 4 Morikawa, who handled the pressure with ease in front of crowds of 32,000 fans in Sandwich, on England’s southeast coast.
“To 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.
Morikawa became the 10th player to win the Open Championship on debut.
But he was the first player to win two Majors in his first appearance at an event after his victory at the 2020 US PGA.
Morikawa’s ambition has no limits after the 24-year-old sealed his second Major with a flawless display on Sunday to win the British Open on debut.
Those in attendance may look back on Morikawa’s performance as a landmark moment for the world No 4, who now has a pair of Major titles to his credit in just over two years as a professional.
“I’ve had belief in myself since turning pro that I can do it,” said Morikawa.
“When it’s coming to these tournaments, courses and styles that I have never played, I do my homework Monday to Wednesday to know what I need to do.”
Morikawa is the first male golfer to win two Majors in his first eight appearances since 1934 after winning the 2020 US PGA Championship and he also finished in the top 10 at this year’s US PGA and US Open.
“I just want more. When you’re in these moments and you truly love what you do, and I love playing golf and competing against these guys, these are the best moments ever because the nerves push you to just be a better person,” said Morikawa, who will now look to win an Olympic gold medal in Tokyo.
Spieth did everything he could to test Morikawa’s mettle as the 2017 British Open champion played the final 12 holes in six under par, at one point cutting his rival’s lead to a single stroke.
But where others may have felt the heat in sweltering conditions as temperatures topped 30ºC on England’s southeast coast, Morikawa coolly completed a bogey-free 66 to finish four under for the day.
“I’m glad I look calm because the nerves are definitely up there, but you channel these nerves into excitement and energy,” added Morikawa.
Spieth knows better than most the demands that come with being a rising star in golf.
The now 27-year-old won back-to-back Masters and US Open titles in 2015, a year in which he finished in the top four in all four Majors.
He then triumphed at the 2017 British Open, but that was Spieth’s last Major success and he only ended a four-year wait for a PGA victory in April at the Texas Open.
“Clearly, with the shots he’s hit and the putts he’s holed, he’s not afraid of high-pressure situations and winning a Major championship,” said an admiring Spieth of Morikawa.
“At 24, obviously there’s a bright future ahead. I think winning one [a Major] can happen to a lot of people playing really good golf in one week, and I think winning two, he’s obviously proven that this stage is where he wants to be.
“He’s got the potential and the game, and the head, to be able to manage any kind of bumps in the road.”
© Agence France-Presse