Youngster Collin Morikawa electrified the golf world over the weekend after he narrowly avoided another playoff heartbreak on Sunday, defeating Justin Thomas to claim his second PGA Tour win at the Workday Charity Open.
The 23-year-old, who suffered a playoff loss at the Charles Schwab Challenge last month, hung on at Muirfield Golf Club in Dublin after fellow American Justin Thomas bogeyed 16 and 18 to send the pair into extra play.
Tied at 19-under par after four rounds, the pair put on a putting masterclass on the first playoff hole for birdies, with Thomas letting out a roar after sinking a more than 50-foot putt.
But Thomas, the 2017 PGA Championship winner who had been flawless through the first three rounds, missed the fairway on the third playoff hole and got stuck behind a tree, and it was Morikawa who kept his nerve for the win.
But it was a must-make 24-foot putt to the extend the play-off that had fans going wild for the rising star, which included praise from legend and all-time leading Majors leader Jack Nicklaus.
Congrats to Collin Morikawa on winning the @Workday Charity Open! His golf game at Muirfield Village GC matched his beautiful swing. Holing that 24-foot putt on top of Justin’s 50-footer in the playoff was unbelievable. I expect many more @PGATOUR wins from the young Californian! pic.twitter.com/xajZRjK2j9— Jack Nicklaus (@jacknicklaus) July 12, 2020
3 strokes down with 3 to play, Collin Morikawa stares down the dude that's won the most over the last four years. What a wild ass Sunday.— No Laying Up (@NoLayingUp) July 12, 2020
Morikawa just watched the No. 5 player in the world take a three-stroke lead into the final round, make 10 (!) one-putts in a row, twirl the dagger on 15 and take a three-stroke lead to the 16th tee and said, "Nah, we're good here" in his 26th PGA Tour event. That's unbelievable.— Kyle Porter (@KylePorterCBS) July 12, 2020
Gosh that’s gutsy from @collin_morikawa. Staring down the barrel of a second playoff loss since the return of @PGATOUR the wonder kid drains a pressure putt on the 1st p/off hole & then seals it with more sublime ball-striking on the 3rd extra hole. He’s a bright young star.— Luke Elvy (@Luke_Elvy) July 12, 2020
I love the grit. 3 down, 3 to go. Then 3 playoff holes. Clutch putt by @collin_morikawa on first playoff hole after @JustinThomas34 sunk a 50 footer, just to stay alive. Congratulations Collin! https://t.co/gQylbKv7cl— Ian Bos (@ianswalk) July 12, 2020
Collin Morikawa wins the Workday Charity Open, becoming the the 2nd-youngest golfer (23 years-157 days) to ever win a PGA TOUR event at Muirfield Village (two days younger than Tiger Woods' first win at Muirfield in 1999). Only Hideki Matsuyama (22-97) was younger pic.twitter.com/OsVn3dn9X9— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) July 12, 2020
The Morikawa miracle— Holy Buckeye (@kirksports) July 12, 2020
3 down with 3 to go
"Those three holes were a grind, obviously Justin making that birdie putt on that first playoff hole, I had to make it, or else we go home again," said Morikawa.
"I just got a little more comfortable throughout the playoff ... Two playoffs now, and finally got one done.
Morikawa jumps in world rankings
Morikawa, who goes to No.13 in the world - one spot ahead of Tiger Woods - said it was a huge stepping stone.
"We got No.1 out of the way. We got No. 2. Let the gates just open and let's keep going."
It was a bitter loss for Thomas, however, who had a two-stroke lead over Norwegian Viktor Hovland going into Sunday.
With three holes to play, he was three shots ahead of Morikawa who made only one birdie which was enough for a six-under 66 to force a playoff.
"It's completely unacceptable to give up a three-shot lead with three to go," Thomas said. "I'm upset, I'm disappointed in myself.
"But at the end of the day it's over with now, and I just need to take some time this afternoon and tonight to build on it and figure out what I can do better going into next week."
Australian Jason Day finished joint seventh on 11 under par, while Matt Jones was 14th on 10 under.
The Muirfield Village Golf Club event was added to the PGA Tour's calendar after the John Deere Classic, which was supposed to be held in Illinois, was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.