Collin Morikawa tops Justin Thomas in wild playoff to win Workday Charity Open

Ryan Young
·5 min read
Collin Morikawa fended off Justin Thomas in an incredible playoff on Sunday to win the Workday Charity Open at Muirfield Village in Ohio.
Collin Morikawa fended off Justin Thomas in an incredible playoff on Sunday to win the Workday Charity Open at Muirfield Village in Ohio. (Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)

It took three extra holes, but Collin Morikawa won the Workday Charity Open on Sunday afternoon.

Morikawa, after rallying back late in the round, fended off Justin Thomas in an incredible playoff at Muirfield Village in Dublin, Ohio — the first of back-to-back PGA Tour events at Jack Nicklaus’ course.

The win marked Morikawa’s second in his PGA Tour career, and the first of the season for the 23-year-old. He’ll now jump to No. 13 in the World Golf Rankings, his highest point and one spot ahead of Tiger Woods.

“This is a huge kind of stepping stone,” Morikawa said, via the Associated Press. “We got [win] No. 1 out of the way. We got No. 2. Let the gates just open and let’s keep going.”

Thomas slips late

Thomas entered Sunday with a two-shot lead after posting three bogey-free rounds to start the week, including a 6-under 66 on Saturday.

He pushed that lead to three strokes with three holes to go, capping an incredible stretch in which he went 7-under in eight holes with a clutch eagle on No. 15.

That, though, is where things went south for the the 12-time Tour winner.

Thomas bogeyed two of his final three holes of the day — including the 18th — to open the door back up for Morikawa.

“A three-shot cushion with three to go is a lot different than four with three to go,” Morikawa said, via the Associated Press. “And then him hitting somewhat of a poor tee shot on 16, I knew this was my window of opportunity.”

After climbing back to one-back with a birdie on No. 17, Morikawa snuck in a par putt at the last to force the playoff. Seeing that putt shake in, Morikawa said, caused his heartbeat to “have skipped a billion times.”

“I never assumed it was over,” Thomas said, via the Associated Press. “Percentages would say that it heavily is close to being that way ... I just tried to keep my head down and think he’s going to make it, but hoping he’s not, selfishly, but he did.”

Thomas’, Morikawa’s putting magic

The first playoff hole started out rough, with both players missing the fairway when replaying No. 18.

Both Thomas and Morikawa stuck their approach shots on the green, though Thomas’ sat 50 feet from the cup.

That proved to be the perfect distance.

Thomas expertly sank the lengthy birdie putt, sparking a massive celebration on the green.

Morikawa, however, remained unfazed.

He made his 25-footer with ease, extending the playoff to another hole with a birdie of his own.

Thomas nearly holed out his approach on the second playoff hole, too — the pair played No. 18 a second time — and landed his ball just feet from the cup.

His birdie putt for the win pushed just right of the cup, however, which sent both he and Morikawa to a third playoff hole.

Morikawa seals the deal

Thomas’ drive on the third playoff hole — this time on No. 10 — ended up behind a tree.

So, Morikawa made his move.

Morikawa landed his approach on the 462-yard par-4 less than 10 feet from the hole. Thomas had to punch out, and left himself a 14-footer for par.

Morikawa missed his birdie, but it didn’t matter. After Thomas’ failed par putt, Morikawa’s par was enough to give him his second-career win in just 24 starts on Tour.

Morikawa finished the day with a 6-under 66, bringing him to 19-under on the weekend. The Los Angeles native, who already has four top-10 finishes this season, has only missed the cut once in his career — which he did two weeks ago at the Travelers Championship.

Thomas finished the day with a 3-under 69. Viktor Hovland finished in third at 15-under, and Chase Seiffert was one back in fourth.

Muirfield Village will host the Memorial Tournament next week, the second of two straight events at the course.

“It’s completely unacceptable to give up a three-shot lead with three to go,” Thomas said, via the Associated Press. “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.”

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