Magnificent Morikawa 2021 Open Champion

Claret Jug
Claret Jug
Dan Perry, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Introduction

Covid-19 caused the cancellation of the oldest major championship in 2020. In the end, it was well worth waiting 12 months for.

The weather was unusually acquiescent. The scores at the end of the week showed how much a links course needs the wind to defend itself from the best players in the world.

The famed English links looked a picture thanks to head greenkeeper Paul Larsen and his team.

It was good to see some proper rough that might put a bit more of a premium on accuracy from the tee.

Thursday

Early on Brian Harman looked like he was going to post an unbelievable score after birdieing the first 3 holes but had to settle for an opening 65.

The recent resurgence in Jordan Spieth’s form continued with his opening 65.

Ultimately the opening day belonged to South Africa’s Louis Oosthuizen. His imperious 64 left him with a one-shot lead over the two Americans.

Rory McIlroy’s woes continued after a promising start to his round he ended up having to birdie the last to shoot level par.

rory mcilroy
Rory McIlroy
TourProGolfClubs, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Friday

Jonathan Thomson bagged a hole in one on day 2. The 6ft 9in giant, who qualified at Hollinwell G.C., was diagnosed with leukemia as a child. He took up golf because he was no longer able to play contact sports.

The Sheffield man aced the 16th hole which was the same hole that Tony Jacklin made the first live televised hole in one in 1967. He made a good fist of his first taste of major championship golf with a total of 281 (1 over) for the championship.

Another great story was Marcel Siem. He only got into the Championship by winning a Challenge Tour event the week before. By making the cut he gave himself a chance of getting his playing privileges on the main tour back.

Louis continued in the same vein as Thursday with a 65 to go with his 64 and a new record for the Open. His new mark of 129 besting the record previously held by a certain Sir Nick Faldo and Brandt Snedeker for the lowest opening 36 holes. To be honest it could have been several shots lower.

Spieth continued to press the South African with a solid 67 to put him at 8 under. Collin Morikawa vaulted himself into 2nd place with a superb 64 for a nine-under total in his first visit to The Open and only his 8th major.

After a poor first-day US Open winner Jon Rahm threw down a marker with a 64 and world number 1 Dustin Johnson put himself in contention with a 65.

Saturday

Moving day as it is sometimes known. Unfortunately for two of the biggest names in the sport, the move was backward.

Brooks Koepka and DJ both failed to deliver the expected push on day three. With rounds of 72 and 73 respectively they effectively put themselves out of contention for the championship. Unless there were major slip-ups from the leaders, anyway.

Oosthuizen’s game started off much as it had for the first two rounds. He was out in a tidy 33 shots but he produced a few loose shots to the right on the back nine including his 2nd and 3rd bogeys of the championship on 11 and 13. He still managed to hold onto the lead at 12 under after a 69.

Meanwhile, Spieth was putting in a great challenge being four under for his first 10 holes. Unfortunately, he came undone on his way back into the clubhouse with three bogeys including a missed tiddler on 18.

In the end, Morikawa was left as the closest challenger after rescuing a battling 68 following two early bogeys.

Royal St Georges Golf Club
Royal St Georges G.C.
Unknown authorUnknown author, CC BY 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Sunday

The most benign weather of the week greeted the players on Sunday with virtually no wind and for England pretty hot and sunny weather.

The defending champion from Royal Portrush, Shane Lowry put in a good show over the week finishing in a tie for twelfth place. Today was the day for the Claret Jug to be handed over to a new custodian.

Oosthuizen didn’t quite have the same form as he’d shown earlier in the week. Two bogeys on the front nine including a thinned bunker shot on the par-5 7th left him two over for the day and at that point four behind the leader, Morikawa.

The young American kept his cool during the early part of the round before a burst of birdies on 7, 8 and 9 saw him take a commanding lead.

The California native was playing like a seasoned veteran rather than an Open debutant. On the rare occasions that his accuracy deserted him, he managed to escape with an up-and-down. His solitary birdie on the back nine was sufficient for a bogey-free 66 that made him the first man to win two majors on debut.

A late charge by Jon Rahm who managed a string of four consecutive birdies wasn’t quite enough to apply pressure to the leader. Similarly, Jordan Spieth could never quite get level with his countryman.

Magnificent Morikawa 2021 Open Champion: Conclusion

There were many doubters who questioned the bottle of Collin after winning at Harding Park with no spectators. I think this is a pretty solid marker that he’s laid down.

Two majors is a great career for many, but Morikawa has managed it in just eight starts.

The experts seem to think his putting can be a little suspect but certainly on the evidence of this week that is open to question. Could this be the next big golfing superstar?

I tell everyone I am not the biggest history guy but I want to add myself to history and make memories for myself

Collin Morikawa

Final Standings 2021 Open Championship

1Collin MorikawaUSAus flag-15
2Jordan SpiethUSAsouth african flag-13
3Jon RahmSpainspain flag-11
Louis OosthuizenSouth Africasouth africa flag-11
5Dylan FrittelliSouth Africasouth africa flag-9

What’s in the Bag: Collin Morikawa 2021 Open Champion

DRIVER: TaylorMade SIM, 8 degrees

FAIRWAY WOODS: TaylorMade SIM, 14 degrees, TaylorMade SIM2, 19 degrees

IRONS: TaylorMade P770, 4 TaylorMade P7MC 5-9, TaylorMade P730 PW

WEDGES: TaylorMade MG2, 52 degrees, TaylorMade HiToe, 60 degrees

PUTTER: TaylorMade TP Juno

BALL: TaylorMade TP5

Related:

2021 US Open Championship

2021 PGA Championship

2021 Masters Tournament

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