P.G.A. Championship 2020: Collin Morikawa wins his first major title

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The highly anticipated first major golf tournament in a season shaken by the coronavirus pandemic yielded an upstart winner on Sunday. Collin Morikawa, a 23-year-old Californian who played in his second major, won the 102nd P.G.A. Championship in a spectator-free TPC Harding Park in San Francisco.

Morikawa, who turned pro last summer, shot a 64-under-par 64 on Sunday and finished 13 down for the win, his first in a major and third in his short time on the PGA Tour. Since the tournament became a stroke play event in 1958, there have been only two winners of a P.G.A. The championship is younger: Jack Nicklaus in 1963 and Rory McIlroy in 2012.

Morikawa entered the final round with two shots from the lead, which was held by Dustin Johnson, who tied for 11 with Paul Casey. below for the tournament.

The Harding tournament, an unpretentious municipal course on the misty southwestern edge of the city, was to take place in early May, four weeks after the Masters, the traditional opening title for the men's tour. The Masters are now scheduled for mid-November at Augusta National, and the United States Open at Winged Foot has been moved from June to mid-September. The British Open, the only men's major to be held outside the United States, was canceled for the first time since World War II.

It's amazing, & # 39; & # 39; said Morikawa, who played golf about 21 miles away in California. receiving the Wanamaker Trophy on the 18th green.

"To close it down in San Francisco," he added, "what is kind of my second home, where I've spent the last four years, is pretty special."

Morikawa broke out of a tangled backpack on the back nine, which at one point had a seven-fold tie on 10 under.

The mass of contenders included a mix of veterans such as Casey, 43, and Johnson, 36, and a blast of the sport's new wave. Matthew Wolff, 21, placed a 65 on the final round and Scottie Scheffler, 24, was in the chase to the end. They finished in a tie for fourth place.

Surprisingly, the two-time defending P.G.A. Championship champion Brooks Koepka, who made confident statements on Saturday night, tumbled off the standings with a four-over 74 Sunday.

It was Morikawa & # 39; s time.

But first there was setback.

His approach to par-4 No. 14 from the fairway was a disappointing 15 meters short. It was then that Morikawa showed the sang-froid and the soft hands that marked the brilliant start to his career.

He coolly lifted a clean chip off the fairway that rolled into the cup for a birdie.

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A group of volunteers in the neighborhood cheered, apparently felt obliged to underline the silence for such a moment.

Morikawa was in charge.

The steerable par-4 No. 16, it presented a strategic challenge, looming in the fog as the possible tipping point for the full leaderboard. A handful of eagles by players earlier in the day filled the omen hole, and Casey birdie there to tie Morikawa at 11 under.

It all put Morikawa & # 39; s swing on the 16th tee box. He watched the line and remembered a similar ride he had taken in Muirfield Village, Ohio, last month during his win at the Workday Charity Open.

"It fit my eye," he said.

He unleashed the driver on an aggressive line. There would be no lay-up.

Morikawa & # 39; s daring play cut slightly towards the target, cleared a dangerous clump of cypress trees guarding the green and landed softly, then came to a stop two meters away. The shot immediately had the luster of legend.

"We were hoping for a good bounce, and we got one," said Morikawa.

Practicing on the firing range in the event of a playoff, Casey could only marvel.

"What a shot he hit on 16," said Casey, shooting a final round of 66. "Just great golf. There's nothing you can do but flip your cap. Collin took on the challenge. That's what champions do." The deal was closed by Pars on Nos. 17 and 18.

A smiling Morikawa walked through a rope of tournament volunteers, cheering on the new champion.

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