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Magical Morikawa wins US PGA Championship for first major title

By Dejan Kalinic

San Francisco, August 10: Collin Morikawa claimed his maiden major triumph with a thrilling two-stroke victory at the US PGA Championship on Sunday (August 9).

The American, 23, got the better of a tight pack bidding for victory at TPC Harding Park in San Francisco thanks to some late brilliance.

Morikawa's final five holes included an eagle and a birdie as he fired a final-round six-under 64 to finish at 13 under.

Previously a two-time winner on the PGA Tour, Morikawa – playing his second major – chipped in for birdie at 14 before producing an incredible tee shot at 16 and holding his nerve to make eagle.

Morikawa is the third youngest US PGA winner since 1946, only behind Jack Nicklaus (1963) and Rory McIlroy (2012).

It came under enormous pressure during a thrilling final round in which seven players were at one stage tied for the lead with the last pairing on the back nine.

Dustin Johnson, the 2016 U.S. Open champion, was among that group and look favoured for a second major triumph, but the American finished as runner-up with Paul Casey (66) at 11 under after a 68.

Matthew Wolff (65), Jason Day (66), Bryson DeChambeau (66), Tony Finau (66) and Scottie Scheffler (68) finished in the group tied for fourth.

Bidding to win a third straight US PGA title, Brooks Koepka struggled massively to a 74.

McIlroy (68) finished tied for 33rd at two under, a shot ahead of Tiger Woods, who fired his best round of the tournament with a 67.

With the final pairing on the back nine, seven players – Johnson, Day, Morikawa, Finau, Scheffler, Casey and Wolff – were tied for the lead at 10 under.

Wolff was the clubhouse leader following his 65, but Morikawa edged ahead thanks to some brilliance at the 14th, chipping in after leaving an approach short.

Scheffler, in the final pairing alongside Johnson, slipped out of the leading group following a bogey at 13.

Bryson DeChambeau, who made a red-hot start before dropping back-to-back shots at eight and nine, joined the group chasing Morikawa thanks to a birdie at 16.

Johnson dropped back to nine under after finding the bunker at 14, while Morikawa missed a chance to stretch his lead to two.

Despite finding two bunkers at the last, Day carded a 66 to join Wolff in the clubhouse lead.

Casey joined Morikawa at 11 under after a superb shot out of the bunker at 16 led to a birdie, but the latter produced some more magic.

Morikawa put his 293-yard tee shot at the par-four 16th to within seven feet and made the clutch putt to pull two clear, pars at the final two holes closing out his victory.

Morikawa's biggest hiccup of the day came when lifting the Wanamaker Trophy as the lid flew off during the presentation, but the victor was all smiles.

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Story first published: Monday, August 10, 2020, 6:50 [IST]
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