Photo by Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Morikawa Wins PGA Championship

August 9, 2020

Propelled by two stunning shots in the final five holes, Cal grad Collin Morikawa fired a final-round 64 to claim his first major championship — in his first major appearance as a professional — on Sunday at San Francisco’s Harding Park. 

 Morikawa finished at a 13-under par 267, two shots better than Dustin Johnson and Paul Casey. His final round was the lowest closing 18 by a PGA champ in 23 years. The tournament, originally scheduled for May 14-17, was played without spectators on the course.

 At 23 Morikawa joins Jack Nicklaus, Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy as the only winners at that age. He's the third-youngest player to win the PGA Championship in the stroke play era and also the ninth golfer to win the event in his debut. 

"It's hard to think about what this championship means, and obviously it's a major, and this is what guys go for, especially at the end of the their career,” he said afterwards. “And we're just starting." 

Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports
Morikawa closed with a six-under par 64

For much of the cool, breezy afternoon the field was chasing  Johnson. By midafternoon there was a logjam atop the leaderboard with a bunch of players sitting at 10-under par.

Matthew Wolff was the first of those to finish, wrapping his round of five-under 65 at just about 4:30, setting the initial bar at -10. Shortly afterward, six more players stood at that mark — seven players, tied for the lead, with less than seven holes remaining in the tournament. Joining Wolff at the top were Johnson, Morikawa,  Casey, Jason Day, Tony Finau and Scottie Scheffler, with Bryson DeChambeau one stroke behind.

That is when Morikawa, playing in the second to last group, separated himself. On the 14th he rebounded from, a bad second shot to hole a chip shot for a birdie and took the lead.

With Casey lurking Morikawa delivered a drive that will go down as one of the best shots in PGA Championship history. His tee shot at No. 16 -- a 294-yard drivable par-4 that created the ultimate risk-reward balance for all of the leaders down the stretch -- was hit on a perfect line that tucked snug to 7 feet. Morikawa followed that epic drive with an eagle putt to put the tournament on ice.

"I was hoping for a really good bounce and got it,'' he said. "I hit a really good putt, and now we're here.''

Casey, with his first good shot at winning a major, birdied the 16th to tie Morikawa for the lead. Standing on the tee at the par-3 17th, he looked back and saw the ball roll toward the cup.

"What a shot'' was all Casey could say. "Nothing you can do but tip your cap to that. Collin had taken on that challenge and pulled it off. That's what champions do.''

Morikawa had two PGA Tour victories upon entering the PGA Championship. He won the 2019 Barracuda Championship and last month won the Workday Charity Open in a playoff against Justin Thomas.

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
Morikawa can’t keep a lid on the trophy

Morikawa, in his 28th start as a pro and his second major (he played the US Open as an amateur), played bogey-free. His only mistake was at the end, when it was time for him to hoist the Wanamaker Trophy, the heaviest of the four major trophies. The lid came off and tumbled to the grass -- to Morikawa's surprise.

His third victory since turning pro was worth $1.98 million. In his 18 career starts he was won more than $1.5 million. He has missed a cut only once. 

Discussion from...

Morikawa Wins PGA Championship

1,411 Views | 2 Replies | Last: 1 mo ago by oskirules
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Congratulations again, Collin! Go Bears!

(Loves hearing the "Go Bears!" Ashe headed to the clubhouse after closing out the round!

Was it the woman wearing the mask with the script Cal on it, standing just behind the rope or yet another Golden Bear?!???
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The silent shot heard round the world: How one swing changed Collin Morikawa's life.
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