The price of beer, and not gas, have golf fans fired up and players bemused at the US PGA Championship in Oklahoma. With a…
Collin Morikawa says he will embrace the spotlight after announcing himself as golf’s newest superstar with a breakthrough major victory at a US PGA Championship for the ages.
Morikawa capped his meteoric rise since turning professional 14 months ago by beating out a field of golf’s biggest names to claim a two-shot victory in the first major of 2020.
The 23-year-old American, playing just his second major, shot a Sunday 64 for a 13-under-par total while England’s Paul Casey (66) and American Dustin Johnson (68) were runners up at San Francisco’s TPC Harding Park.
It was the lowest final round by a PGA champion since Australia’s Steve Elkington fired 64 to win the 1995 edition.
Australia’s Jason Day (66) and Americans Matthew Wolff (65), Bryson DeChambeau (66), Tony Finau (66) and Scottie Scheffler (68) were tied fourth at 10 under.
“It’s amazing,” Morikawa said after being handed the Wanamaker Trophy and $US1.98 million ($A2.76m).
“It’s been a life goal (to win a major), as a little kid, watching all these professionals, and this is always what I’ve wanted to do.”
Morikawa joins an illustrious group of greats to have won a major before the age of 24 including Tiger Woods, Jordan Spieth, Jack Nicklaus, Seve Ballesteros and Rory McIlroy.
“Any time you’re in the conversation of the greats, Jack, Rory, Tiger, you’re doing something well,” Morikawa said.
Although COVID-19 prevented fans from attending the PGA, it was one of the most dramatic finishes to a major in recent memory.
Seven players were tied for the lead late in the round before Morikawa chipped in for birdie at the 14th to break the stalemate.
He then smashed a drive at the short, 293-yard par-4 16th and drained the seven-foot putt for a brilliant eagle to cruise to victory.
Day, the 2015 PGA Champion, made a late surge with a birdie at the 10th, a 40-foot birdie at the 11th and another at the 14th to eventually post the clubhouse lead before Morikawa stepped up.
“This is what fans want to see; who is going to step up and hit that really good shot coming down the stretch,” Morikawa said.
Morikawa earned his third PGA Tour victory since debuting in June last year and has rocketed to world No.5.
His 129 was the lowest closing 36-hole score in major history and many have predicted the Los Angeles native will create more history.
Morikawa says he is ready for the expectations and stardom.
“I love hearing what (media) have to critique,” Morikawa said.
“I feel very comfortable in this spot. I’m not scared.
“If I was scared those last few holes would have been a little different.”
Morikawa is already among the betting favourites to win the US Open in September and the Masters at Augusta National in November.
“It doesn’t stop here. I’ve got a very good taste what major championships are like,” he said.
“When I play my best, I’m able to compete and (even) beat these guys.”
Of the other Australians, Adam Scott (68) finished tied 22nd at four under while Cameron Smith (70) was tied 43rd at even par.
Defeding champion Brooks Koepka faded with a dismal 74 – the second-worst score of the day, dropping him to three under and a tie for 29th.
Tiger Woods signed off with a 67 to share 37th at one under and equal 37th.