The Open: Morikawa's juicy secret to success

By Sports Desk July 18, 2021

Open champion Collin Morikawa revealed the unexpected and tasty secret to his success after winning the Claret Jug at the first attempt on Sunday.

The 24-year-old produced a blemish-free 66 in a stunning final round at Royal St George's to thwart the charge of Jordan Spieth and eclipse overnight leader Louis Oosthuizen.

Morikawa, who also won the 2020 US PGA Championship on debut, secured his second major win in eight entries after starting the day a shot behind Oosthuizen.

In the end his greatest beef was with 2017 Champion Golfer of the Year Spieth, who recovered from being two over through six holes to sign for a 66 himself, finishing two back.

But Morikawa, who saw playing partner Oosthuizen limp to a closing 71, clearly relished the challenge as he went bogey-free to make mincemeat of the field in sizzling sunshine on the Kent coast.

But, when grilled by the media as to what the key to his triumph was, Morikawa had an answer nobody saw coming.

"The secret? Well, I never do this, but I had a burger for four straight days, so my body is probably feeling it. I know my body's feeling it," he said.

"I think I just enjoy these moments, and I talk about it so much that we love what we do. And you have to embrace it.

"You have to be excited about these opportunities, and that's how I looked at it today, especially coming down the stretch, was I'm excited. To have the Claret Jug right here in my possession for a year, I believe, I'm excited to have it."

Runner-up Spieth lamented his putting as he came up short, but Morikawa was delighted with that side of his own game.

He made a succession of potentially tricky putts, including one for birdie from around 15 feet on the 14th just after Spieth had cut the gap to one.

"Definitely one of the best [putting displays], especially inside 10 feet," he said.

"I felt like it was as solid as it's going to get. I don't think I really missed many from that distance. Especially in a major.

"I think in a major on a Sunday in contention, I wasn't thinking about anything other than making a putt.

"I'm going to tell myself probably tomorrow: 'Why can't I keep doing that all the time?'.

"But you know, I'm going to try to figure out what worked and use that for the future because I know I can putt well. I know I can putt well in these pressure situations. I've just got to keep doing that."

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    McIlroy carded a six-under-par 66 to soar to the top of the leaderboard at 25 under for the tournament as the former world number one prevailed by one stroke in Las Vegas, Nevada.

    Fowler was the player to beat heading into Sunday's final round, the former Masters runner-up teeing off with a two-stroke advantage at the Summit Club.

    But Fowler fell following a final-round 71 as McIlroy used an eagle, five birdies and just one bogey for his first PGA Tour success since May's Wells Fargo Championship.

    With his latest triumph, it marked the first time four-time major champion McIlroy – who endured a forgettable Ryder Cup campaign with Europe – had won in his season debut on Tour.

    McIlroy also became the 39th player with at least 20 wins on Tour, moving tied for 35th on the all-time list.

    "It is a big carrot," McIlroy – who played bogey-free after his eagle putt on the 14th – said of the 20 wins. "I didn't know it would be this week."

    Morikawa rocketed up the leaderboard with a stunning 10-under-par 62 but it was only enough for second position at 24 under.

    Fowler and Keith Mitchell (67) finished tied for third at 22 under, a shot better off than Talor Gooch (62), Sam Burns (66), Aaron Wise (66) and former world number one Adam Scott (69).

    Emiliano Grillo tied the CJ Cup 18-hole scoring record with his career-low 11-under-par 61 as he shared 18th, alongside Justin Thomas (64), Jordan Spieth (67) and Xander Schauffele (63).

    Brooks Koepka (68) finished 10 strokes behind McIlroy, while Dustin Johnson was a shot further back following his 67.

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    Another excellent up-and-down at 11 earned him a birdie and the lead.

    Although a bogey on the 13th pegged him back, Soderberg quickly got that shot back with another birdie on 15 as he looked well-placed to go on and take the trophy.

    But the timing of his costly double bogey on the 17th could not have been worse as Fitzpatrick – a hole back – simultaneously ended a streak of 15 pars with his first birdie of the day. Over the course of a single hole, Soderberg went from a two-shot lead to trailing by one.

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    Fowler carded a nine-under-par 63 to be 21 under after three rounds and two shots clear of four-time major champion Rory McIlroy at the Summit Club.

    The 32-year-old American made his move on the front nine, with five birdies in six holes, finishing with a bogey-free round.

    It marked Fowler's best round in three years, and it was only the third time in his career he had hit all 18 greens in a round.

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    McIlroy represents his main competition ahead of the final day, after an exceptional penultimate round with a 10-under-par 62.

    The Northern Irishman reeled off five consecutive birdies on the front nine before finishing his round with an eagle after a fine approach and 21-foot putt on the 18th hole.

    McIlroy is 19-under 197 after three rounds, ahead of Mexico's Abraham Ancer, USA's Robert Streb and Australia's Adam Scott by one shot.

    Mitchell slipped back to 17-under alongside Tyrrell Hatton, giving up his five-shot lead at the halfway point with a disappointing day.

    The one-time PGA Tour champion had dazzled with rounds of 62 and 64 on the opening two days but came back to earth with a one-over-par 73, which included two bogeys and two double bogeys. Mitchell sunk a 28-foot putt for birdie on the 18th hole to lift his spirits.

    Former world number one Jordan Spieth had been among the pack behind Mitchell after two rounds but he had also struggled with an even-par 72 third round.

    Spieth is eight strokes behind leader Fowler, following a frustrating round that included one birdie and one bogey.

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