The first major in over 12 months did not disappoint—not in the least.
As many as seven players had a share of the lead at one point on Sunday, but it was Collin Morikawa, the even-keeled 23-year-old American who edged out the rest of the field, claiming his first major championship. Morikawa started the day two back of the lead and made his move early in the round, with birdies on his third and fourth holes.
Morikawa played solidly all week, leading the field in fairways hit, proximity to the hole and strokes gained putting, a statistical trifecta that catapulted him to a final round 64. The Cal-Berkley graduate has played extensively at TPC Harding Park throughout his collegiate career, experiences he undoubtedly relied upon coming down the stretch. The shot of the tournament came on the drivable par-4 16th hole after Morikawa laced his driver to about six feet, a putt he would convert to give himself a two-shot cushion with two holes to play. Pars down the final stretch were enough to cement the victory and etch his name into the Wannamaker Trophy.
Morikawa’s lone miss of the day came during the trophy presentation. Apparently, no one told the California native that The Wanamaker Trophy has a removable lid.
Brooks Koepka came into the week as one of the favourites, looking to capture his third straight PGA Championship, a quest that was blunted after shooting 39 on his final round front nine, ultimately pulling him out of contention. Another favourite heading into Sunday was Dustin Johnson, who lead by one after 54 holes. Johnson was never able to get his putter going in the final round, finishing the tournament in a tie for second place alongside veteran Englishman Paul Casey.
The next major championship is the US Open, taking place on September 17-20 at Winged Foot.
After a solid 68 on Thursday, Tiger Woods’ chances to win his 16th major championship slipped away after consecutive rounds of two-over 72 on Friday and Saturday. Woods debuted a new putter this week, which had the golf world abuzz, abandoning the Scotty Cameron that helped him win 13 of his 14 majors. But the new flatstick didn’t remedy his season-long putting woes, as Woods’ struggles on the greens continued at TPC Harding Park.
“If I would have made a few more putts on Friday early on, and the same thing with Saturday, I feel like I would have been right there with a chance come today,” said Woods after his final round.
Woods did manage to salvage a minor victory to cap off the week, firing a 67 on Sunday to get him into red figures for the tournament and build some momentum as he heads into the meat of the PGA Tour season. Woods is expected to make his next start at the North Trust Open, the Fed Ex Cup’s first playoff event being held at TPC Boston.
Canadians at a Glance
Alas, it wasn’t the week Canada’s top-ranked professionals had hoped for. Nick Taylor, Corey Conners, Adam Hadwin and Mackenzie Hughes represented the Great White North at the 102th PGA Championship, making this one of the deeper major fields for Canadian golf, however, only Hughes and Hadwin made the cut to play the weekend. Both Canadians finished the first major of the year tournament at three-over, good enough for a tie for 59th place.
COLLIN MORIKAWA WITB
Driver: TaylorMade SIM (8 degrees)
Fairway: TaylorMade SIM 3-Wood (14 degrees)
Hybrid: TaylorMade SIM Max Rescue – 19 degrees
Irons: TaylorMade P750 (4-5), P730 (6-PW)
Wedges: TaylorMAde MG2 (52 degrees), TaylorMade MG2 HiToe (60 degrees)
Putter: TaylorMade TP Juno
Ball: TaylorMade TP5