Collin Morikawa created main historical past at Royal St George’s as he celebrated his Open debut with a powerful two-shot victory over Jordan Spieth.
Morikawa, winner of final yr’s PGA Championship in solely his second main look, held off riveting challenges from Spieth and Jon Rahm to change into the primary participant in historical past to win two totally different majors on the first try.
The ultra-composed 24-year-old fired a bogey-free 66 to say victory on 15 underneath par, with Spieth’s 66 incomes him a runner-up place whereas Louis Oosthuizen suffered extra main heartbreak as he stumbled to a closing 71 and needed to accept a podium end on 11 underneath with Rahm.
Looking for to emulate the debut victory of 500/1 outsider Ben Curtis on the Sandwich hyperlinks 18 years in the past, Morikawa started the ultimate spherical one shot behind Oosthuizen and shortly discovered himself tied on the high when the South African pulled his strategy to the fourth and was unable to avoid wasting par.
Morikawa is the primary participant to win two majors on the first try.
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Spieth dropped photographs on the fourth and sixth solely to launch himself again into the operating with a superb eagle on the seventh, the place there was a two-shot swing within the ultimate pairing when Oosthuizen thinned his bunker splash-out throughout the inexperienced and took six, whereas Morikawa broke his run of pars together with his first birdie of the day.
Realizing he now had a two-stroke benefit over his enjoying companion, Morikawa resisted the temptation to try to guard his lead, and prolonged it with additional birdies at eight and 9 to go 4 clear, though Spieth lowered the deficit to a few as he picked up photographs on the ninth and tenth, the place Morikawa made a clutch par save.
Oosthuizen revived his hopes with a surprising tee shot to the par-three eleventh which rattled the pin and arrange his first birdie, however Spieth was the person piling the strain on the chief and the 2017 champion closed the hole to a single shot when he rolled in consecutive six-footers for birdies on 13 and 14.
However Morikawa responded with a nerveless 20-foot putt for a priceless 4 on the lengthy 14th simply as Rahm was within the midst of a spectacular late cost, the Spaniard immediately reeling off 4 straight birdies from the thirteenth and coming inside a matter of inches from a hole-in-one on the quick sixteenth.
Rahm’s rally would fall quick because the pre-tournament favorite closed with pars at 17 and 18 to finish a 66 and declare the clubhouse lead on 11 underneath, and Spieth missed an incredible probability to once more cut back Morikawa’s lead as he knocked his strategy to 12 toes on the penultimate gap solely to learn an excessive amount of break into the birdie putt.
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Morikawa’s resolve and composure remained intact as he negotiated 15 and 16 in pars, and Spieth couldn’t make his compatriot’s victory march rather less snug as he parred the 18th for a 66 – 13 underneath par for the week and his greatest lead to a serious championship since profitable at Royal Birkdale 4 years in the past.
One other cast-iron par on the seventeenth gave Morikawa the relative luxurious of a two-shot benefit to take down the 72nd gap, and after one other pure strike discovered the center of the green, he drilled his second to 25 toes earlier than absorbing the applause from the bumper galleries with victory a mere formality.
Two putts later it was official, and an acceptable lead to a yr of historic main outcomes, whereas Oosthuizen was left to mirror on yet one more case of what may need been as he parred the final 4 holes to earn a share of third with Rahm, the person who pipped him to the US Open title final month.
Brooks Koepka had earlier threatened the course report when he raced to 5 underneath for the day with a 3rd of his ultimate spherical remaining, however he was dissatisfied to shut with six straight pars for a 65 which left him seven photographs behind the champion.
World No 1 Dustin Johnson returned a 67 to complete on seven underneath together with rising Scot Bob MacIntyre, who secured back-to-back top-10 finishes in each his Open appearances with a 67 that would have been a pair decrease had he not pulled his tee shot on the 14th out of bounds.
After two years in possession of the Claret Jug, Royal Portrush champion Shane Lowry’s stout defence of the title ended with a 69 and a creditable tie for twelfth place on six underneath par.