Morikawa seizes late PGA victory, Day tied 4th

Just when it looked like the first major of the year could be heading towards a four or five-way playoff, 23-year-old Collin Morikawa stepped up to the plate with a chip-in birdie at the 14th followed by an eagle after driving the par-4 16th to set up victory at the PGA Championship in San Francisco.

Morikawa, who was playing in just his second major after having finished T35 at last year’s US Open, now joins Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Jack Nicklaus in the history books, all of whom won their first PGA Championship titles at 23.

Collin Morikawa Collin Morikawa (Credit: PGA Tour)

Morikawa also wrote his own bit of history by shooting rounds of 65 and 64 to record the lowest weekend score by a major winner in history.

“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. I felt very comfortable from the start,” said Morikawa, who took home a first-prize cheque of US$1,980,000.

“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.”

The Californian’s six-under 64 gave him a two-shot win over Dustin Johnson, who birdied the final hole to share runner-up duties with England’s Paul Casey. Johnson has now finished second in majors five times including last year’s PGA Championship behind Brooks Koepka.

Australia’s Jason Day just couldn’t get his game going on the front nine today and despite some better play on the way back to the clubhouse, the Queenslander closed the week in a five-way share of 4th place at 10-under following rounds of 65, 69, 70 and 66.

Day finished alongside Americans Matthew Wolff, Bryson DeChambeau, Tony Finau and Scottie Scheffler, who all had a chance to taste victory at some point across the final nine holes today.

“Overall, I played solid golf from tee-to-green. Gave myself the opportunities. Although I played great, there’s still a lot more to improve on. I feel like my game was just solid enough to get into a playoff, if not win,” said World No.42 Day.

“I’ve been moving in the right direction over the last four tournaments. Everything is starting to connect and click. It was really cool to be able to be in contention again at a major championship on Sunday. It’s just nice to be able to know that the game can handle the pressure of trying to win a major championship.”

Adam Scott was the next best of the Australians finishing in equal 22nd place in his first return to tournament golf in five months. The 2013 Masters champ closed with a 68 for a total of 4-under 276.

Cameron Smith carded a share of 43rd while Marc Leishman, Lucas Herbert and Matt Jones all missed the weekend cut.

Attention now turns to the Wyndham Championship, which marks the final regular event of this shortened season and the last chance for those players on the fringe of the FedEx Cup standings to qualify for the Playoffs starting at the Northern Trust on August 20.

Marc Leishman (14th) and Cameron Smith (29th) sit inside the top 30 bubble while Adam Scott (34th) and Jason Day (42nd) still have work to do if they are to be there at the start of September in Atlanta.

Collin Morikawa pushed aside Webb Simpson to sit 556 points behind FedExCup leader Justin Thomas.