There were major champions and rookies. There were young stars and grizzled veterans. And there was a logjam at the top of the PGA Championship leaderboard late on a Sunday. So Collin Morikawa, 23, decided to hit the afterburners, posted a final-round 6-under 64 and hoisted the Wanamaker trophy at TPC Harding Park. “It’s amazing. It’s been a life goal,” said Morikawa, who earned 600 FedExCup points and moved to No. 2 in the standings. “As a little kid, kind of growing up and watching all these professionals, and this is always what I wanted to do.” Since World War II, only three players had won the PGA Championship at age 23. They are Jack Nicklaus, Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy. That list grew to four players on Sunday. There were seven players tied for the lead at one point on the back nine during the final round, but Morikawa began to pull away after he holed a pitch shot on No. 14 to move to 11 under and took the outright lead. But the shot of the championship came on the par-4 16th when he drove the green and left himself a 7-foot eagle putt, which he drained to take a two-shot lead.
With a lot of talk about how the long drivers would have the advantage at TPC Harding Park, Morikawa, not known as a big hitter, got the job done another way. He led the field in driving accuracy, and became the first player to do so and win a major since 2010. Also, his rounds of 65 and 64 on the weekend was the lowest closing 36-hole score in PGA Championship history. This marked Morikawa’s third win as a pro. He also won the Workday Charity Open last month at Muirfield Golf Club and the Barracuda Championship last summer. Morikawa gets a lifetime exemption into the PGA Championship and a five-year exemption on the PGA TOUR.
Our selections…….well…all three of our pre tournament bets were in good order going into the final round….and then it unravelled!!!! It has taken me a fair few hours to get over Sundays play. It is even worse when it is on the west coast of America and the eight hour time difference kills you. I do not know what happened to Koepka? perhaps he was injured? He did have treatment on Friday for a stiff hip. He kept hitting it left off the tee and putted poorly. I heard some pundits say that he does not play well on courses that are not difficult. To me that is nonsense. He just kept hitting it left off the tee into rough and struggled to get on to greens with his second shot. I was expecting him to go on and win.
Daniel Berger was steady but average in the final round. In the match bet both Justin Thomas and Rory McIlroy were poor. It was decided by one stroke in the end and a missed putt form six feet. The in play bet looked likely to collect when Bryson DeChambeau stormed off in the final round. however he stalled mid round and tied for fourth and a part place return for us. I was surprised that he could not go on here and take the prize.
What do I take from the tournament? Morikawa and Woolf are stars of the future for definite. Dustin Johnson is a talent but cannot get it done in majors. Tony Finau is playing well but choked again with the win in sight. Adam Scott played well enough in his first tournament back. Jason Day looked fit and placed without ever looking like winning. Tommy Fleetwood tailed off on the weekend. He is not back to his best yet. Webb Simpson looks a bit out of form going into The Wyndham Championship, which is his event. Gary Woodland continues to struggle since the restart.
The English Championship – a bit of a non event on an easy course. Andy Sullivan came back to form and blitzed the course and won by seven strokes. Sully won three tournaments on the tour in 2015 but has been in the doldrums in recent times. We shall see in the next few weeks whether he is back to his best again? Our selection, Thomas Detry, has two good rounds and two poor rounds and finished well down the field. I so struggle to understand why a player of Detry’s ability has two bad rounds on an easy course? We need to avoid him in selections until he shows consistency at the required level.
What else would I take from this tournament? English courses are easy. Rasmus Hojgaard was good again, finishing third. In fourth was a young South African, Wilco Neinaber. He looks a talent and we shall watch him to see if he can consistently perform on tour? Brandon Stone is a good player but inconsistent and throws in bad rounds regularly. Andrew ‘Beef’ Johnston is back. He does get a bit over hyped based upon his actual performances. Not one for me. Ryan Fox failed gain and is one to swerve. Lee Westwood is out of form and his odds are too short at present for what he is doing.
I will be back again Tuesday PM with selections for this week.
And remember…eye on the ball…follow through… and practice your chipping and putting.