Morikawa outguns Thomas for Workday Charity Open win
Justin Thomas paid a huge price after bogeying two of his closing three holes to then lose in a three-hole play-off against rising PGA Tour superstar Collin Morikawa, who captured the inaugural Workday Charity Open in Dublin, Ohio.
Morikawa, 23, brilliantly collected a second PGA Tour title following a closing round 66 to sit alongside Thomas (72) at 19-under par following regulation play before winning with a par at the third extra hole.
The final round was brought forward to a three-ball 7am start due to the threat of afternoon storms.
The No. 5 world ranked Thomas went into the final day well in command and leading by two shots but after an indifferent start JT found himself three shots behind through seven holes before regrouping to be three in front with three to play.
Morikawa, a former world No.1 amateur, and Thomas headed into the play-off where they visited the 18th hole twice with Thomas draining a monster 50-footer for birdie leaving his rival to sink a 25-footer for birdie.
They then each parred the 18th on the second time around in the play-off before Thomas’ tee shot at the 10th hole, and the third extra hole, landed close behind a small tree with the 12-time PGA Tour champion taking a bogey ‘5’.
Morikawa then had two putts from three metres to claim the victory.
Collin Morikawa (Credit: PGA Tour)
The win for Morikawa makes amends for losing out in a play-off against Daniel Berger at the Charles Schwab Challenge in the opening event of golf’s return following the COVID-19 lockdown.
“I’m excited and I am super happy I closed it out after losing in a play-off at Fort Worth,” said Morikawa who now moves to a career high of World No.13.
“In that first play-off I thought ‘Oh, my God!’ I have to make the putt or I would be going home empty-handed again but as the play-off progressed I just felt a little more comfortable.”
“So, to finally pick-up my second Tour victory is great and hats off to Justin, as he was one of the first people that helped me when I turned pro last year in Canada, so I owe a lot to him but I am just so happy I managed to close out the win.”
Thomas was seeking a second Tour victory this year after capturing the 2020 opener in Hawaii and he didn’t hold back on his emotions in virtually handing the win to Morikawa.
“I am pretty pissed off,” he said.
“I had a three shot lead with three to go and just completely handed it over to Collin. He played great in birdieing a very tough hole on 17 and we each made great birdies at the first play-off hole, so I had a few chances to win this thing in regulation and in the play-off.”
“The thing is I made four bogeys on a very easy course today and managed to lose in a play-off.”
“The thing that sucks about golf, it hurts but the great thing is I have another chance this week [at The Memorial].”
Norway’s young star Viktor Hovland took outright third place on 15-under while Jason Day, in his adopted home state of Ohio, made amends for a string of missed cuts to share a seven-way tie for 7th place on 11-under.
Matt Jones also did well to rebound from back-to-back missed cuts to secure a 14th place finish at 10-under.
Cameron Davis, Aaron Baddeley, Marc Leishman all missed the weekend while Cameron Percy withdrew during the second round.
The PGA Tour stays at Muirfield Village for The Memorial where five-time champion Tiger Woods will make his long-awaited return to tournament golf.