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The 149th Open Royal St George's

Morikawa's Magic Moments


The Sunday Shots That Won The 149th Open

Collin Morikawa admires the Claret Jug after winning The 149th Open

A dazzling final round of 66 saw Collin Morikawa storm to victory in The 149th Open at Royal St George’s on Sunday.

The 24-year-old is only the fifth player in post-war times to win The Open on his maiden appearance, joining Ben Hogan, Tony Lema, Tom Watson and Ben Curtis in achieving the rare feat.

Morikawa was magnificent throughout the week in Sandwich on his way to a score of 265, a record low aggregate for the venue, but there were a handful of moments in his final round that stood out as particularly vital.

We look at the Sunday shots that won The 149th Open.


Putting the foot down on 8

Morikawa’s start was steady rather than spectacular as he parred each of the first six holes to remain on his overnight score of 11 under.

That was good enough for a share of first place as Louis Oosthuizen bogeyed the fourth, but things changed swiftly as the final pairing approached the turn.

When Morikawa birdied the par-5 7th and Oosthuizen made a costly bogey, the American held a two-shot advantage and all eyes were on the new outright leader to see how he would react.

Morikawa’s response was truly emphatic. A towering approach shot at the eighth almost found the hole and led to a second birdie in a row.

Oozing confidence, Morikawa then moved four clear by picking up another shot at the ninth. In less than an hour, he had seized control of the Championship.

A key up-and-down at 10

While a four-shot lead with nine holes to play obviously represented a fantastic position for Morikawa, he will have known there was still much work to do, particularly on a course with as many dangers as Royal St George’s.

He immediately faced a key test of his mettle at the 10th, when he over-cooked a wedge and found heavy rough over the back of the green.

Undaunted, Morikawa played a fine recovery shot to leave around 12 feet for par. The subsequent putt then found its target and it was clear the leader was in no mood to give up his position.

Collin Morikawa plays a pitch to the 10th at Royal St George's

Regaining breathing space at 14

By the time Morikawa reached the par-5 14th, the hole offering the best birdie opportunity on the back nine, serious pressure was being applied by a chasing pack led by Jordan Spieth.

The Champion Golfer of 2017 had closed within one by birdieing the 14th himself and Morikawa looked like he may have to settle for par when he left his third shot - a relatively straightforward pitch - 15 feet short of the hole.

Once again, Morikawa came up with the perfect riposte, drilling his birdie attempt firmly into the centre of the cup to double his cushion. It felt like a hugely significant blow.

Coming up clutch at 15

If the birdie at 14 gave Morikawa a much-needed momentum boost, the next hole was just as important in sustaining that momentum.

He was in serious danger of giving a shot straight back when he missed the green at 15 to leave an up-and-down of similar difficulty to the one he successfully pulled off at 10.

Yet the result was the same. Another solid pitch left a mid-range putt and Morikawa again proved up to the task.

A fist pump followed from a player who typically keeps his emotions in check on the course. Morikawa – along with everyone else – knew how important the par save was and from that point on there were no alarms as he completed a wonderful win.

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