Jul 19th, 2021
Morikawa wins at Royal St George's
American shoots bogey-free final round to clinch title on debut
Words: GolfPunk Photography: Getty Images
Within two shots of the lead, Speith got to within two shots but could not find a birdie in his closing holes, leaving the 24-year-old Morikawa to become the first Open debutant to win since Ben Curtis did so at the same course in 2003.
"This is one of the best moments of my life," Morikawa said.
"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."
The American won his first major on his US PGA Championship debut last year without crowds due to the pandemic.
"I tell everyone I am not the biggest history guy but I want to add myself to history and make memories for myself," said Morikawa.
"Everything about this week was very special, to cap it on my caddie's birthday, even more special."
Morikawa's four-under 66 saw him finish on fifteen-under, with 2017 champion Spieth also carding a final-round 66 to finish two shots back.
Speith will look back at the mistakes he made on the final holes on Saturday and in particular, the missed short putt at the last. When he birdied both the 13th and 14th holes, it looked like he may be in with a shout but Morikawa was grinding out the pars and Speith could not find the elusive birdies he required.
"I'm proud of going six-under in the last 12 in this golf tournament and putting some pressure on Collin," said Speith.
"I did all I could. So I'm upset because I really felt like I played well enough to win and made a couple of really dumb mistakes - like just stepping in and missing on 18 yesterday, not really thinking about it.
"But at the same time, I did everything I could in the past few hours to win this championship."
Louis Oosthuizen surprisingly struggled on the final day, unable to reproduce the brilliance of his opening two rounds. He closed with a one-over 71 to finish in a share of third with a charging Jon Rahm on eleven-under.
Scotland's Robert MacIntyre closed with a 67 to be the top British player. He finished tied-eight in a group seven-under-par that included world number Dustin Johnson.
Defending champion Shane Lowry put up a spirited defence of his title, finishing tied-twelfth on six-under. England's Paul Casey was another player who could not find his form of the opening rounds closing with a level par 70 to end up at five-under.