Collin Morikawa kept his cool on a blazing afternoon to win The Open by two strokes at Royal St George's on Sunday.
The American, 24, closed with a bogey-free, 4-under 66 for a two-shot victory over Jordan Spieth to follow up his victory at last year’s PGA Championship on debut, just 11 months ago. He thus became the first player to win two majors on debut.
This time he did it in front of a crowd of 32,000. Morikawa is the first player since Bobby Jones in 1926 to win two majors in eight or fewer starts, and his total of 15-under 265 was a 72-hole record score at the Sandwich links.
The American had never even played in links conditions until last week's Scottish Open when he tied for 71st, the worst finish of his professional career.
But the world No4 was on top of his game as temperatures hit 30 degrees celsius.
Overnight leader Louis Oosthuizen's bogey at the fourth allowed Morikawa to move into a share of the lead and he never looked back after a two-shot swing at the par-five seventh.
Oosthuizen, who finished at 11 under in a share of third with Jon Rahm, twice found bunkers around the green to drop another shot.
Meanwhile, Morikawa drained the first of three consecutive birdie putts to hit the turn at 14 under.
The 2020 US PGA champion needed his putter to stay hot on the back nine just to save par at 10, 11 and crucially at 15 with Spieth breathing down his neck. But by that time, he had moved to 15 under with another long-range putt at the par-five 14th.
Oosthuizen, the 2010 Open champion and runner up at the last two majors, had another near miss in a career full of them. He never recovered from losing his lead — for the first time since the 12th hole on Friday.
Three solid pars coming home made Morikawa the first debutant at The Open to win since Ben Curtis' shock success also at Royal St. George's 18 years ago.
"This is by far one of the best moments of my life. Look at all these fans, let's hear it for you guys," Morikawa said after receiving the Claret Jug.
"To see some of the best crowds I have ever seen I'm looking forward to making my trip every year to the British Open."
Morikawa only turned pro in 2019 but the University of California graduate has now won two of his first eight majors and looks destined to become a major force in the game.
"Everything about this week was special," he said. "I've had belief in myself since day one that I turned professional.
"I do my homework Monday to Wednesday to make sure I know what I need to do."