Tiger Woods was left wondering what might have been after saving his best till last before the battle for the US PGA Championship intensified in San Francisco.
After opening with a 68 at Harding Park, consecutive rounds of 72 left Woods out of contention for a 16th major title and among the early starters on Sunday.
But the 44-year-old put in a characteristically professional display to card five birdies and two bogeys in a closing 67 to finish one under par overall in just his fourth tournament of 2020 due to injury and the coronavirus pandemic.
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“I drove it like I did on Friday, my irons were a little crisper and I hit better putts,” Woods said. “An under-par tournament score, that’s what I said I wanted yesterday and made it happen today.”
Asked what he would take out of the week, Woods added: “What I get out of this week is that I felt competitive. If I had made a few more putts on Friday and Saturday I would have been right there with a chance.”
Despite appearing in just his second major, Collin Morikawa produced a brilliant finish to clinch the Wanamaker Trophy in his home state of California.
Morikawa emerged from a seven-way tie for the lead in the closing stages at Harding Park by chipping in for a birdie on the 14th hole and then producing a stunning eagle on the 16th by driving the green on the 294-yard par four and holing from seven feet.
The 23-year-old carded a closing 64 – equalling the lowest round of the week – to finish 13 under par and two shots ahead of overnight leader Dustin Johnson and England’s Paul Casey, who barely put a foot wrong in pursuit of his first major title at the 64th attempt.
Morikawa, whose only mistake of the day came when the lid of the Wanamaker Trophy flew off as he hoisted it aloft, described the win as “amazing”.
“It’s been a life goal as a little kid, watching all these professionals and this is always what I’ve wanted to do,” said Morikawa, who was born in Los Angeles and won five times during his college career at the University of California, Berkeley.
“I felt very comfortable from the start, as an amateur, junior golfer, turning professional last year, but to finally close it off and come out here in San Francisco – pretty much my second home where I spent the last four years – it’s pretty special.
“I’m on cloud nine right now. It’s hard to think about what this championship means, and obviously it’s a major, and this is what guys go for, especially at the end of the their career, and we’re just starting.
“So I think this is just a lot of confidence, a lot of momentum, and it just gives me a little taste of what’s to come.”
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