The dust had barely settled on the Claret Jug and yet Collin Morikawa had already set his sights on more Major glory following a faultless final day at Royal St George’s to win the Open.
A year after winning his first major, the PGA Championship, in an event devoid of fans, the 24-year-old produced a nerveless performance in front of 32,000 spectators in Kent with a bogey-free round of 66.
It matched the same score from Jordan Spieth but was enough to keep him two shots behind on what was Morikawa’s Open debut.
Following his second Major success, the American said: “I just want more. When you’re in these moments and you truly love what you do, and I love playing golf and competing against these guys, these are the best moments ever because the nerves push you to just be a better person.”
Morikawa joked that the secret to his success and consistency over the course of four days at Royal St George’s lay behind his decision to eat a burger for four straight evenings.
And any suggestion the magnitude of the occasion might get to a golfer relatively inexperienced of the big occasion compared to many of his rivals was quickly dispelled.
Three straight birdies at the end of the back nine gave him a clear advantage over Spieth and overnight leader Louis Oosthuizen and a further birdie at the 14th allied to not dropping a single shot were enough to give him the win with room to breathe.
There had been little indication of what was to come at Sandwich after Morikawa finished 71st at the preceding Scottish Open and admitted he had little experience of playing links golf.
The maturity of the performance sounded a warning for his other Major rivals for the remainder of the season, with Morikawa likely to be among the favourites for Olympic gold in Tokyo.
Following the win, he said: “I’ve had belief in myself since turning pro that I can do it. When it’s coming to these tournaments, courses and styles that I have never played, I do my homework Monday to Wednesday to know what I need to do.
“I’m glad I look calm because the nerves are definitely up there but you channel these nerves into excitement and energy.
It was his second Major win in just eight Major appearances to date, the first man to have achieved such early success since 1934.
Of his history making, the Open debutant added: “I think when you make history, it’s hard to grasp and it’s hard to really take in. At 24, it’s so hard to look back at the two short years [as a professional] and see what I’ve done because I want more.
For a chasing Spieth, there was little more the 2017 Open champion could do in attempting to claw back his countryman at the top of the leaderboard. And he predicted more big wins to come from his rival.
“Clearly, with the shots he’s hit and the putts he’s holed, he’s not afraid of high pressure situations and winning a Major championship,” said Spieth. “At 24, obviously there’s a bright future ahead.
“I think winning one Major can happen to a lot of people playing really good golf in one week and I think winning two he’s obviously proven that this is the stage where he wants to be. He’s got the potential and the game and the head to be able to manage any kind of bumps in the road.”