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The Open 2021: Collin Morikawa says Royal St George’s victory ‘hard to grasp’

Collin Morikawa said it was “hard to grasp and take in” what he had achieved after winning the Claret Jug on his Open Championship debut on Sunday.

The 24-year-old American held off 2017 Open champion Jordan Spieth to triumph by two shots at Royal St George’s.

In doing so he became the first man to win two different majors on debut.

“It’s hard to look back at the two years that I have been a professional and see what I’ve done because I want more,” said the Californian.

“I enjoy these moments, I love it, and I want to teach myself to embrace it a little more, maybe spend a few extra days and sit back and drink out of this [the Claret Jug].

“When you’re in these moments and you truly love what you do, these are the best moments ever because the nerves push you to just be a better person.”

The world number four looked calm and composed throughout his final round on the Kent coast as he carded a bogey-free four-under-par 66 to win on 15 under.

“I’ve had belief in myself since turning pro that I can do it,” he said.

“I’m glad I look calm because the nerves are definitely up there, but you channel these nerves into excitement and energy.”

Morikawa won the 2020 US PGA Championship last August in only his second major, without any fans present at Harding Park in San Francisco because of restrictions caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

However, Sunday’s victory came in front of up to 32,000 fans at the Kent course after it was deemed a government test event.

And three-time major champion Spieth was impressed by what he saw from his fellow American.

“Winning one [major] can happen to a lot of people playing really good golf in one week, and winning two, he’s proved that this stage is where he wants to be,” said the 27-year-old Texan who won this title in 2017.

“He’s got the potential and the game, and the head, to be able to manage any kind of bumps in the road.”

Louis Oosthuizen, who led after each of the first three rounds, did not speak to the media after closing with a one-over-par 71 to finish joint third with Jon Rahm on 11 under.

The 38-year-old South African, who has finished runner-up in six majors since winning the 2010 Open, including last month’s US Open and the US PGA in May, instead tweeted: “Thank you for the incredible support this week, and congrats to Collin Morikawa who played with class and grit. Well done mate.”

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