Debutant Collin Morikawa held off a charge from Jordan Spieth to win the 149th British Open by two shots after a scintillating action at Royal St George’s.
At just 24, Morikawa claimed his second major thanks to a bogey-free round of 66 to finish on 15 under par.
The American had never even played in links conditions until last week’s Scottish Open when he tied for 71st, the worst finish of his professional career.
But the world number four showed no sign of inexperience as he revelled in the sweltering conditions as temperatures hit 30 degrees celsius in Sandwich on England’s south-east coast.
Overnight leader Louis Oosthuizen’s bogey at the fourth allowed Morikawa to move into a share of the lead and he never looked back after a two-shot swing at the par-five seventh.
Oosthuizen, who finished at 11 under in a share of third with Jon Rahm, twice found bunkers around the green to drop another shot. Meanwhile, Morikawa drained the first of three consecutive birdie putts to hit the turn at 14 under.
The 2020 US PGA champion needed his putter to stay hot on the back nine just to save par at 10, 11 and crucially at 15 with Spieth breathing down his neck.
But by that time, he had moved to 15 under with another long-range putt at the par-five 14th. Three solid pars coming home made Morikawa the first British Open debutant to win since Ben Curtis’ shock success also at Royal St. George’s 18 years ago.—AFP