Collin Morikawa with the Claret Jug
Collin Morikawa with the Claret Jug

Collin Morikawa wins the Open Championship and emulates Tiger Woods

Open Championship: Final leaderboard

-15 Morikawa

-13 Spieth

-11 Oosthuizen, Rahm

-9 Frittelli

-8 Koepka, Hughes

-7 Johnson, MacIntyre, Berger, Scheffler

Final-round report: Morikawa makes more history

Collin Morikawa matched Tiger Woods in winning two majors before his 25th birthday as he fended off Jordan Spieth to win the 149th Open Championship.

Morikawa carded a bogey-free, four-under par round of 66 to make his Open debut a winning one, in turn becoming the first man in history to win both this and the PGA Championship at the first attempt.

Victory here was all the more impressive given that he'd struggled in the previous week's Scottish Open, but a tweak to his equipment set him on course to defy a difficult draw and ultimately win with something to spare.

Collin Morikawa lifts the Claret Jug
Collin Morikawa is the Champion Golfer of the Year

As overnight leader Louis Oosthuizen struggled from the start, Morikawa had Spieth to deal with as his compatriot and soon-to-be Ryder Cup teammate went six-under for a run of eight holes from the seventh, but he could never get on terms and an unflappable Morikawa was always in command.

Tournament favourite Jon Rahm followed up last month's US Open breakthrough with a share of third, his best in an Open Championship, with surprise package Dylan Frittelli rounding out the top five. Robert MacIntyre was the sole British representative in the top 10, with Ireland's Shane Lowry putting up a stout defence of his title in 12th.

"This is by far one of the best moments of my life," said Morikawa as he addressed packed grandstands at Royal St George's, where around 150,000 spectators went through the gates during the tournament – a marked contrast to the behind-closed-doors major he won in San Francisco last year.

Addressing them directly, he added: "You guys have been amazing. I'm obviously very biased, being from the US, but to see some of the best crowds I've ever seen out here, I look forward to making my trip every year to the British Open, and seeing you guys cheering us on.

"We are all so honoured to be out here, on this beautiful golf course. To be called the winner, it gives me chills."

Morikawa takes control around the turn

Morikawa began the day a shot behind Oosthuizen, but, with the South African making a stuttering start, Morikawa followed six straight pars with birdies on the seventh, eighth and ninth to open up a three-shot lead over Spieth.

The former Open champion had fallen four behind with two early bogeys, but eagled the seventh and birdied the ninth to be out in 34 and emerge as Morikawa’s biggest rival.

The gap remained three as Morikawa and Spieth traded birdies on the ninth and 10th respectively, before a brilliant par save from over the 10th green kept Morikawa in command.

Birdies from close range on the 13th and 14th saw Spieth cut his deficit to a single stroke, only for Morikawa to also take advantage of the par-five 14th – the easiest hole on the course over the week – to edge two in front once more.

A brilliant up and down from left of the 15th gave Morikawa some vital breathing space and with Spieth unable to birdie any of the last three holes he could enjoy completing the formalities of an impressive win.

Oosthuizen had been hoping to become the first wire-to-wire winner of the Open since Rory McIlroy in 2014, 11 years to the day since he lifted the Claret Jug at St Andrews.

But after dropping just his fourth shot of the week after missing the green with his approach to the fourth, Oosthuizen thinned his bunker shot on the par-five seventh into more sand to run up a costly six.

Oosthuizen almost made a spectacular hole-in-one when his tee shot on the difficult 11th clattered into the pin, and although the resulting birdie saw him close the gap to Morikawa to three, a bogey on the 13th effectively ended his chances.

Morikawa then was left to complete a remarkable debut victory, one which takes his tally to two majors from just eight appearances and puts him halfway to a career grand slam – still more than six months from his 25th birthday.

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