Collin Morikawa Heads Into Tokyo As British Open Champion
by Todd Kortemeier
In 2020, Collin Morikawa won the PGA Championship in his first time competing in the event. On Sunday, Morikawa won his second career major at the British Open, again in his tournament debut.
Morikawa will tee off in his first Olympic Games in 11 days — could a gold medal be next?
Morikawa heads into Tokyo playing as well as anyone in the world, taking home the Claret Jug with a nearly error-free final round on a day when many players struggled. Morikawa went into the tournament’s final round at Royal St. George’s in Sandwich, England, trailing by one stroke to Louis Oosthuizen, but Morikawa grabbed the lead with a birdie putt on the seventh hole and never looked back. He won by two strokes at 15 under par, over fellow American Jordan Spieth.
Since the fifth hole of the third round, Morikawa didn’t make a single bogey. He accomplished that with the help of a locked-in putting stroke, despite being the 172nd-ranked player in strokes gained through putting on the PGA Tour this season. He was better than average at the Open with 1.56 putts per green in regulation.
The 24-year-old from La Cañada, California, becomes the first player to win in his debut in two majors. He currently ranks fourth in the Official World Golf Ranking but is likely to move up following the Open triumph. Morikawa has posted one other win in 2021, at the World Golf Championships event in Bradenton, Florida.
Morikawa was the only one of Team USA’s four Olympians who was in contention on Sunday, but Xander Schauffele and Bryson DeChambeau tied for the best final round score, even better than Morikawa’s, each shooting five under par. Schauffele finished in a tie for 26th at three under, DeChambeau finished in a tie for 33rd at two under. Justin Thomas finished tied for 40th at one under.
Todd Kortemeier - Todd Kortemeier is a sportswriter, editor and children’s book author from Minneapolis. He is a contributor to TeamUSA.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.