Golf

Collin Morikawa fulfills ‘life goal’ with PGA Championship victory

Collin Morikawa reveled in an “amazing” victory after winning the PGA Championship on Sunday.

The 23-year-old American became the third-youngest player to win the tournament since 1946 thanks to a thrilling victory at TPC Harding Park in San Francisco.

Morikawa fired a 6-under 64 in the final round to secure a two-stroke victory over Dustin Johnson and Paul Casey.

“It’s amazing. It’s been a life goal, obviously as a little kid, kind of watching everyone grow up, all these professionals, and this is always what I’ve wanted to do,” he said at the trophy presentation.

“I felt very comfortable from the start. As an amateur, junior golfer, turning professional last year, but to finally close it off and come out here in San Francisco, pretty much my second home where I spent the last four years, is pretty special.”

Morikawa produced some late magic with a chip in for birdie at the 14th before an eagle at the par-4 16th after an incredible tee shot.

The tee shot at 16 reminded Morikawa of a similar one at the Workday Charity Open last month, when he won his second PGA Tour title.

“[Fourteen] at Muirfield is pretty special, and my caddie looked at me after I hit my shot on 16 tee and asked me the same exact question. It just fit my eye,” he said.

“We were just hoping for a really good bounce, and we got it, hit a really good putt, and now we’re here.”

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At 23 years, six months and three days, Morikawa is behind just Jack Nicklaus (23 years, six months in 1963) and Rory McIlroy (23 years, three months and eight days in 2012) as the youngest to win a major in the past 74 years. Morikawa’s 64 in the final round also tied the lowest final-round score by a PGA winner since Steve Elkington in 1995.

Casey said he saw potential in Morikawa as soon as the Los Angeles native arrived from Cal-Berkeley.

“The glorious shots Collin hit like on 16 to make eagle, you have to tip your cap. When he popped up on Tour not that long ago, those guys who were paying attention like myself knew that this was something special, and he’s proved it today,” Casey said.

“He’s already sort of proved it but he’s really stamped his authority of how good he is today.”

Already a three-time winner on the PGA Tour, Morikawa was proud to be alongside the greats.

“It’s great company. It’s been crazy, because this entire start of my professional career, I see all the things comparing to Tiger [Woods] and doing all this and then Tiger is on a completely different level. I think we all know that,” he said.

“But any time you’re in the conversation of the greats, Jack, Rory, Tiger, no matter who it is, if you’re in that conversation, you’re doing something well.

“So to know that, yeah, what I’ve done, what I did my four years in college, was obviously worth it, but there’s just that extra sense of feeling good in my heart, to finish out, get my business degree, graduate, come out here knowing I’m prepared, and knowing that it’s possible.

“You know, when you feel you’re ready, you’re ready, but to be in the conversation with those guys, it’s very special and yeah, you know, I’m ready for the next.”

Sacha Pisani contributed to this report.

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