With a steely focus defying both his age and the moment Collin Morikawa overtook three-day leader Louis Oosthuizen and outlasts other challengers to win The 149th Open at Royal St. George’s.
It was his second major victory in just eight major starts and fifth PGA TOUR win in just 51 starts.
Meanwhile while an American wins in the United Kingdom it was Irishman Seamus Power who came out on top in the USA.
Here are five stories you may have missed from The Open Championship and the Barbasol Championship.
1. Collin Morikawa is an out and out star
If there was any doubt in the legitimacy of Morikawa’s star power or potential prior to The 149th Open the 24-year-old California kid smashed those into smithereens.
He’s a pure winner.
Winners just win. Winners take the moment when it presents itself. They crave it. They chase it. They want the ball with the game on the line.
On Sunday in Sandwich Morikawa took the moment and refused to give it up. When his co-leader Louis Oosthuizen found trouble on the seventh hole and made bogey, Morikawa made birdie. It was basically over at that point because he smelled the blood in the water.
Like Tiger Woods in his prime Morikawa then stepped on the throat by making birdies on the next two holes as well. Jordan Spieth and Jon Rahm started throwing birdies his way, igniting the galleries and trying to create pressure. Morikawa never so much as blinked.
When Spieth closed the gap to one shot, Morikawa buried a birdie putt right behind him to extend again and then continued his precision ball-striking all the way home.
“I just enjoy these moments,” Morikawa said as the secret to success. “I talk about it so much that we love what we do and you have to embrace it. You have to be excited about these opportunities, and that’s how I looked at it today, especially coming down the stretch.
Consider the fact many great players have come up short facing that moment of triumph in The Open. At Royal St. Andrews Thomas Bjorn has a bunker named after him on 16 after he lost a lead stuck in it in 2003. Adam Scott was up by four with four to play at Royal Lytham and St. Anne’s before making bogeys all the way home. It can happen.
But Morikawa was able to block out any outside noise and stoically close out a second major win in just eight major starts. He now stands alone in history as the only player to win two different majors (2020 PGA Championship) on debut.
Incredible. And the accolades don’t stop there. Among many things he joined Gene Sarazen, Bobby Jones, Jack Nicklaus, Seve Ballesteros, Woods, Rory McIlroy, and Spieth as the only players in the last 100 years with multiple major wins before age 25. Read the run down here.
And be prepared for more. This kid ain’t done yet.
2. King Louis relegated to prince once more
For the third major championship in a row Louis Oosthuizen was left with the sting of defeat after having the victory in his grasp.
After finishing runner up to Phil Mickelson at the PGA Championship and to Jon Rahm at the U.S. Open, Oosthuizen led after the first three rounds at Royal St. George’s and was the sentimental favorite to claim a second Claret Jug.
Since the 2010 win at St. Andrews Oosthuizen had finished second at six majors and a PLAYERS Championship.
But after an early bogey gave up his one-shot buffer a bogey on the easiest hole of the course, the par-5 seventh, sent his chances into a tailspin. It dropped him two behind Morikawa and two holes later as the American surged he was four back at the turn.
It was too much to claw back and he would settle for a third place finish.
While some choose to look at the near misses as a negative the fact is Oosthuizen’s season sees him sitting ninth in the FedExCup even without a win. He was third in the 2020 U.S. Open (part of this season’s FedExCup), runner up with Charl Schwartzel at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans, runner up at the 2021 PGA and U.S. Open and now third at The Open. Plenty would swap places in a heartbeat.
Oosthuizen is just 38. Mickelson just won at 50. Chances are hard to come by but we’re not prepared to write him off at all. Not. At. All. He will be back.
3. Jordan Spieth won’t sleep easy after this one
The 2017 Open Champion, previously an under 25 phenom like Morikawa, certainly had the chance to grab a fourth major of his career.
In the final wash up Spieth finished two shots back and there were some obvious ‘what-ifs’ associated with his weekend performance.
Late in the third round Spieth was pushing to be in the final group on Sunday and was sitting in the fairway with wedge in hand on the 17th hole. He came up short of his target, rolled the ball back off a false front and was unable to get up and down for par.
Adding insult to injury he rebounded by hitting a brilliant approach to 20-feet on the last hole only to three-putt it for another bogey – missing the 18-inch par putt by rushing it.
On Sunday two early bogeys left him with a serious battle but he rose to the challenge as best he could with an eagle and four birdies in the last 12 holes. It just wasn’t enough.
“It’s hard to be upset when I was a couple over through six today. I couldn’t have really done much more after that point. But the finish yesterday, was about as upset as I’ve taken a finish of a round to the house,” Spieth said.
“I walked in and I said, Is there something that I can break? I knew that was so important because I would have been in the final group. I’m upset because I really felt like I played well enough to win and made a couple of really dumb mistakes that possibly, if I had maybe played the week before, wouldn’t have made.”
Get more on his efforts here.
4. South Africans and Canadians start International qualifying strong
The 149th Open Championship represented the first week points are available for the 2022 International Presidents Cup team who will battle the U.S. at Quail Hollow.
Under captain Trevor Immelman a new process has been devised on how players will make the side which is outlined below.
Those to get a jump start on the process at Royal St. George’s were Immelman’s fellow South Africans Louis Oosthuizen (T3), Dylan Frittelli (5th) and Justin Harding (T19) and Canadians MacKenzie Hughes (T6) and Corey Conners (T15) who all contended heavily for the Claret Jug.
Hughes was also a factor on Sunday at the recent U.S. Open.
“When you have high finishes like that and play with the best players in the world and hang in there and stay with them, it does a lot for you,” he said.
“Going forward I know I have things to work on and get better at, but that’s the exciting part. There is tons of room for improvement still. But I’m getting better. I’m learning. I made some pretty big progress in the majors this year.”
The other top International players at The Open were former International Team members Emiliano Grillo (T12), Byeong An (T26) and Cameron Smith (T33).
The qualification period runs from the 2021 Open Championship through the 2022 BMW Championship and the top eight players will be automatic selections for the side with four Captain’s picks to join them.
The International Team Points System will operate similarly to that of the Official World Golf Ranking, except it will use a unique calculation to determine field strength and the quantity of points awarded per event. While major championship winners will receive 100 points, there will be no other alternative minimum event points.
International Team Points earned from the 2022 PGA Championship through the 2022 BMW Championship will be given a 25% premium. The ranking will be determined by the average points awarded in the qualifying period. To be eligible from the Presidents Cup International Team Points List, a player must compete in 15 or more events.
Keep up with Team International content on Instagram (@presidentscupteamintl) and Twitter (@IntlTeam).
5. Power play at Barbasol
It took six extra holes but Irishman Seamus Power won his first PGA TOUR event at 34 after outlasting J.T. Poston.
Poston had the win in his grasp but while Power played the last four holes of regulation in two under, Poston was three over on the same stretch to set up extra holes.
When the American found water on the sixth playoff hole Power cruised to the win.
Power entered the final round trailing Poston by three but closed with a 5-under 67 to earn a spot in the playoff.
With 300 FedExCup points he moved to 69th in the FedExCup standings, securing a Playoff berth.