Photo Courtesy of Kyle Terada
By Chris Carey
In his 27th professional start, Collin Morikawa of Las Vegas brought home the 102nd PGA Championship at Harding Park on the weekend of August 6 with a cool and collected final round 64. At the age of 23, Morikawa rivals the maturity, ability, and presence of many of the PGA Tour’s veteran stars.
Starting the day in the mix, but not at the top of the leaderboard, Morikawa battled out an overcast Sunday round with well known names such as former world number one Dustin Johnson, longtime tour player Paul Casey, and young star Tony Finau in this year’s first, albeit unconventional, major championship.
Devoid of fans, Harding Park was eerily quiet through what would have been an otherwise electric weekend. Morikawa cemented his lead late in the round on Sunday with a massive drive on the par 4 sixteenth. His 293 yard tee shot placed him 7 feet from the pin, setting him up for a sliding left to right putt.
With ease, Morikawa drilled the ball into the back of the cup and walked away with a 2 shot lead and only 2 holes to play.
The 23 year old would go on to be one of only four individuals to have won their first PGA Championship before the age of 24. Morikawa now joins Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy, and Jack Nicklaus in that prestigious club.
Paul Casey, runner up to Morikawa with a final round 66, recognized the winner as cut from the same cloth as many of those former champions.
“There’s always a bunch of guys that rock up on the scene, and he didn’t necessarily get the most publicity out of the group he was in, but you know, I can consider myself veteran; I’ve been around the block, so I know talent when I see it,” said Casey.
Morikawa is no stranger to the upper echelons of competition. In his college days at the University of California at Berkeley he competed nationally with the men’s golf team where he was named first team all American on four separate occasions.
With an impressive start to his professional career, which only began last year, Morikawa has captured the world of golf. Although initially overshadowed by the more talked about Matt Wolff and others in his 2019 tour class, Morikawa steadily rose to golf prominence with 22 consecutive made cuts, nearly rivaling Tiger Woods’ 27.
With his first major win at Harding Park, Morikawa jumped to the number 2 spot on the Fedex Cup Rankings going into the playoffs starting with the Northern Trust next weekend.