2021 Open Championship

Morikawa: foundations for win were laid in East Lothian

Scottish Open was vital for Collin Morikawa (pic: SNS Group)

Collin Morikawa played his way into golfing history with his Open Championship victory at Royal St George’s.

The 24-year-old, crowned US PGA champion last August, became the first player to win two different majors at their first attempt.

The American is also the first player since Bobby Jones in the 1920s to win two Majors in eight starts or fewer.

Morikawa held his nerve down the stretch to complete a closing bogey-free round of four-under-par 66 for a 15 under total to win the Claret Jug by two shots from Jordan Spieth. Overnight leader Louis Oosthuizen (71) and US Open champion Jon Rahm (66) tied for third at 11 under.

Morikawa, who will defend his title in the 150th Open at St Andrews next year, highlighted his participation in the Scottish Open at The Renaissance Club as being key to his triumph at Sandwich.

His 71st-place finish in East Lothian was his worst since turning professional but he said: “I’ve had belief in myself since I turned professional I could do it.

“Coming into these tournaments and courses I’ve never played I do my work Monday through Wednesday. The Scottish Open was a huge week of learning experiences for me.

“Renaissance was different from Royal St George’s this week, but it still had that same turf, same fescue fairways.

“I finished that tournament with two or three birdies, so you know, momentum.

“To be holding the Claret Jug is one of the greatest memories in my lifetime. Everything about this entire week has been very special.

“To be called the Open champion, it gives me chills.”

Robert MacIntyre was the only Scot in the 156-man field and the left-hander completed another impressive Major tournament.

The 24-year-old made it seven cuts in seven Major appearances, the man from Oban carding a three-under-par 67 to finish the week safely in the top 10 at seven under.

“I don’t turn up to not compete, we’re all trying to win,” said MacIntyre, who finished as the leading British player despite going out of bounds on the 14th as he looked to set a score in the clubhouse.

“I feel I’ve got the game to win an Open, I’m yet to show it but I’m young and I’ve got plenty of time. There’s a lot I can learn, there’s a lot of golf courses I’m going to enjoy when I get to them again.”

Leading scores:

-15 C Morikawa (US); -13 J Spieth (US); -11 J Rahm (Spa), L Oosthuizen (SA); -9 D Frittelli (SA); -8 B Koepka (US), M Hughes (Can).

Selected others:

-7 R MacIntyre (Sco); -6 S Lowry (Ire); -3 I Poulter (Eng); level R McIlroy (NI).

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