Collin Morikawa wins US PGA to capture maiden major

Collin Morikawa

FINAL STANDINGS  -13 Collin Morikawa; -11 Paul Casey, Dustin Johnson; -10 Matthew Wolff, Jason Day, Bryson DeChambeau, Tony Finau, Dustin Johnson; -9 Justin Rose, Scottie Scheffler OTHERS  -2 Rory McIlroy; -1 Tiger Woods; +3 Robert MacIntyre

It was a final day that had more twists and turns than San Francisco’s famous Lombard Street.

In the end, though, it was Collin Morikawa who left the ‘City By The Bay’ with the Wanamaker trophy after winning a dramatic US PGA Championship at Harding Park.

Making just his second major start - and only his 28th PGA Tour appearance - the American won his maiden major by two shots from Paul Casey and Dustin Johnson, joining Jack Nicklaus, Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy in winning his first US PGA at 23 years of age.

• Caddie calls for Tiger Woods to play more

• Rory McIlroy hits back at Brooks for DJ dig

Morikawa now has three wins on his CV and climbs to fifth on the Official World Golf Ranking. 

Not bad going for a player who was still an amateur when the US PGA was last staged.

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Entering the final round, Morikawa trailed 54-hole leader Johnson by two shots and was one of 20 players within five shots of the lead.

However, despite his inexperience at this level, he was a picture of composure the entire day, carding a blemish-free 64 to take the first major of this reshuffled 2020 season.

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After chipping in for birdie at 14, he then effectively sealed the victory at 16, where he drove the green and left himself just seven feet for eagle, which he duly dispatched.

With his win, Morikawa becomes the first player to win on his US PGA debut since Keegan Bradley in 2011 and the third youngest champion in the event's strokeplay era. 

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His 64 also equalled the lowest final round by a US PGA champion, whilst his 129 is the lowest closing 36-hole total score by a champion in men's golf major history.

Little wonder he described the win as "amazing".

"It's been a life goal," said the new champion, who only graduated from the Unviersity of California 15 months ago. "This is always what I've wanted to do. I felt very comfortable from the start. 

"To close it off and come out [on top] here in San Francisco, pretty much my second home where I spent the last four years, is pretty special.

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"I'm on cloud nine right now. It's hard to think about what this championship means. Obviously, it's a major, and this is what guys go for, especially at the end of the their career, and we're just starting. So I think this is just a lot of confidence, a lot of momentum, and it just gives me a little taste of what's to come. I got a taste of this now. So yeah, this one is going to be very special."

Koepka comes up short in history bid

Morikawa's joy was in stark contrast to the disappointment felt by Brooks Koepka.

Victory this week would have given the back-to-back defending champion an unprecedented third consecutive win in the strokeplay era of the tournament. He put himself firmly in the mix after 54 holes, trailing by just two shots with a round to play.

However, an error-strewn 74 - the second worst round of the day - put paid to his history hopes and left him limping into a tie for 29th.

• "Get a grip!" - Radar takes Koepka to task

"it's my first bad round in a while in a major," said the 30-year-old. "You know, I was just there to cheer Paul [Casey] on. That was it. Just try to help him get it in the house and see how well he could finish because I had put myself out of it already.

"Hey, wasn't meant to be. Three in a row, you're not really supposed to do two in a row looking at history, but that's all right. Got two more the rest of the season and we'll figure it out from there."

Meanwhile, Scotland's Robert MacIntyre - who was on the Great Britain & Ireland team that lost to Morikawa's American side in the 2017 Walker Cup - closed with a one-under 69 to finish in a tie for 66th on his US PGA debut.

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