Collin Morikawa Is Near-Perfect to Beat Justin Thomas in a Playoff

DUBLIN, Ohio — Collin Morikawa figured his match was over if he didn’t make a 5-foot par putt on the 15th gap at Muirfield Village. As it turned out, the enjoyable was simply beginning.

Still three pictures behind Justin Thomas with three holes to play, Morikawa made just one birdie, nevertheless it was sufficient for a six-under-par 66 to pressure a playoff.

The 3 times he performed the 18th gap on Sunday, he twice may solely watch as Thomas missed 10-foot putts for the win. The different time, Morikawa had to make a 25-foot putt to hold enjoying.

The solely boring second on the Workday Charity Open was on the finish, when Morikawa took two putts for par from simply inside 10 toes to beat Thomas on the third playoff gap and win for the second time in his PGA Tour profession.

Morikawa by no means seemed just like the winner till it was over. Thomas had 10 straight one-putt greens, the final one a 25-foot eagle putt on the par-5 15th for the three-shot lead with three holes to play. And whereas he made two bogeys for a 69 that allowed for a playoff, he had cause to assume it was over when he made a 50-foot birdie putt from the again of the 18th inexperienced on the primary additional gap.

“It was crazy,” Morikawa stated.

It was a wild trip for Thomas, too. He misplaced a two-shot lead at the beginning in three holes. He ran off 4 straight birdies and had 10 consecutive one-putts to construct his lead via 15 holes.

“It’s completely unacceptable to give up a three-shot lead with three to go,” Thomas stated. “I’m upset, I’m disappointed in myself.”

Thomas didn’t do something terribly incorrect — a tee shot in the thick collar on the par-Three 16th that led to bogey, a 12-foot birdie try on the 17th that narrowly missed, and a tee shot that discovered a bunker on the 18th and led to one other bogey and a 69. He and Morikawa completed at 19-under 269.

Viktor Hovland of Norway had a 71 and completed alone in third, 4 pictures behind. His hopes ended with two pictures — he discovered a bunker from the 10th fairway for bogey, and hit a driver on the reachable 14th that missed by solely about 5 toes, sufficient for the ball to slowly tumble down the financial institution and into the water.

This was a massive win for the 23-year-old Morikawa, who in his 13 months since graduating from the University of California has established a status for consistency. His solely earlier tour victory was at an occasion with a comparatively weak subject final summer time. The Workday Charity Open featured 5 of the highest 10 gamers in the world.

“This is a huge kind of steppingstone,” stated Morikawa, who goes to No. 13 in the rankings, one spot forward of Tiger Woods. “We got No. 1 out of the way. We got No. 2. Let the gates just open and let’s keep going.”

It was Morikawa’s second playoff for the reason that PGA Tour returned on June 11 from the coronavirus pandemic. He lost on the first extra hole at Colonial by missing a 3-foot putt. He had a 2-foot putt in regulation on Sunday that caught the left edge of the cup and swirled in. “My heartbeat must have skipped a billion times,” Morikawa said.

The only thing missing for him was a handshake from Jack Nicklaus. He will be there this coming week for the Memorial, as the PGA Tour stays at Muirfield Village.

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