Nov 22nd, 2021
Imperious Morikawa secures Dubai double
24-year-old becomes first American winner of the Race to Dubai
Photography: Getty Images
A truly stunning 2021 season for the 24-year-old, which had already yielded a maiden World Golf Championships title, a second Major trophy, and a winning debut appearance in the Ryder Cup, was given a fairytale ending at Jumeirah Golf Estates.
"It feels so good. I would be lying to you if I said I wasn't watching what Matt Fitzpatrick was doing today. Boy, did he put on a run. Props to him. Made a lot of birdies early on," said Morikawa.
"But it's 18 holes. All I needed to do was catch a spark. I feel great right now. Winning the DP World Tour Championship, coming here last year, my first time to Dubai, as really special."
Morikawa, whose last bogey of the tournament came on the 13th hole during round two, had to be patient in the final round as he picked up only one shot on the front nine. But his round took flight from the 12th hole when a birdie three kicked off an incredible run of five birdies in the final seven holes.
With the Californian piling the pressure on third round leader Rory McIlroy, the Northern Irishman suffered a horrid stroke of bad fortune at the 15th, his approach hitting the pin and rebounding into a greenside bunker, resulting in the first of three bogeys coming home for the two-time Race to Dubai Champion.
Morikawa’s exhibition of golf continued to delight the fans down the stretch, as the reigning Open Champion drained a lengthy birdie putt for a two at the 17th hole, before coming within inches of a closing eagle at the famous 18th hole on the Fire Course.
A tap-in birdie, however, was enough for a six-under round of 66 and a 17 under total, bookending a week which began with his receiving Honorary Membership of the European Tour.
The 2020 DP World Tour Champion Matt Fitzpatrick had earlier in the day given himself a shot at a successful title defence, but he had to be content with a share of second spot alongside Swede Alexander Björk, with respective final rounds of 66 and 70 leaving them on a fourteen-under total.
Two of European golf’s brightest rising stars, Denmark’s Nicolai Højgaard and Robert MacIntyre of Scotland, shared fourth spot on thirteen-under-par while McIlroy finished in a share of sixth alongside Englishman Ian Poulter and South Africa's Dean Burmester.
Golf will enter a new era next week in South Africa when the newly-named DP World Tour tees off with the Joburg Open at Rankpark Golf Club.