Collin Morikawa won the PGA Championship on Sunday, dissecting TPC Harding Park with a beautiful combination of ball-striking mastery and deft touch on the greens for his first major title. The win is Morikawa’s third in his young career, and second in a little over a month as he claimed the Workday Charity Open in July.
To add to the spoils that come with winning a major championship, Morikawa also accomplished something that no other golfer has with his weekend performance in San Francisco. With scores of 65 and 64 over the final two rounds, Morikawa’s 129 weekend total is the lowest closing 36-hole score in major history in men’s golf. Not a bad weekend at the office.
Morikawa was two under heading into the weekend, good for a tie for 25th, but he got off to a quick start on moving day as he birdied three holes to go out in 32. He made back-to-back bogeys on the difficult back nine, but also made four birdies to post 65 and secure his tee time in the penultimate pairing for the final round.
While there were blemishes on the Saturday scorecard, there were no such mishaps for the 23-year-old on Sunday. Morikawa began steady on a foggy and gettable course during the final round, posting two early birdies before making his move on the back nine. A birdie on 10 was a must with a bunched leaderboard before a chip-in on 14 (“a huge turning point”) gave him a lead he didn’t relinquish.
Morikawa all but shut the door on the championship with a towering fade off the tee on 16 that settled seven feet below the hole, setting up an eagle to get him to 13 under for the championship.
In addition to the historic weekend, the win puts Morikawa in elite company as he joins Rory McIlroy, Tiger Woods and Jack Nicklaus who also won their first PGA Championships at the age of 23.