Northeast Amateur winner Collin Morikawa (AmateurGolf.com Photo)
RUMFORD, RI (June 24, 2017) – As the leaderboard tightened, Collin Morikawa
remained steady. Staked to a one shot lead to begin the final round at Wannamoisett Country Morikawa, of San Jose, California, pieced together a 1 over-par 70 final round to finish 11-under and hold off playing partners Doug Ghim
and Theo Humphrey
to win the Northeast Amateur.
“It feels great to win,” a smiling Morikawa said. “The history and the players in this field and some of the best players haven’t won this tournament and to be a part of the history of the Northeast Amateur is fantastic.”
After being delayed by nearly three hours due to heavy rain, Morikawa created some early separation and it was a padding that proved to be necessary. A two-time winner this past year as sophomore at Cal, Morikawa opened his round with a birdie to quickly reach 13-under and when Ghim, who began the day 11-under in second place, bogeyed the hole the lead was three.
Over the course of the next two holes last week's Sunnehanna Amateur runner-up (in a playoff) gave the sizable galleries a taste of the grit he would display throughout the remainder of the now sunny and breezy afternoon.
Following the birdie on No. 1, Morikawa rolled in a 10-foot par putt on the difficult second hole after he was forced to punch out of the rough with his second shot. On the ensuing hole, the iconic 137 yard par-3 third he was able to get up and in from behind the green to save par. Another par came on the 4th and when Grim dropped a second shot to fall to 9-under the advantage for Morikawa was four.
“I think the start [was key] the birdie and the couple pars just to start off with that really got my round going,” said Morikawa who missed five his first six greens.
Despite falling into an early hole Ghim and Humphrey never gave in and at the turn Ghim, the Texas senior to be, was just three back while Humphrey was four off the lead. The deficit tightened a little bit more on the 10th when Ghim rolled in a birdie putt to bring the difference down to two-strokes.
After the group parred the 11th Humphrey began to make his charge. Standing on the tee of the 211 yard par-3 12th the Vanderbilt rising senior knocked it stiff setting up a tap in birdie. One hole later Humphrey worked some more magic as he rolled in a 25-foot birdie putt to reach 10-under and two back. That however was where the magic for Humphrey would end as he faded with bogeys on each of the next two holes forcing him to settle for a 9-under tied for second showing with Shintaro Ban.
Ghim, the 2017 Big 12 Player of the Year, got a close as one shot when he reached 11-under with a 10-foot birdie putt on the 13th before dropping shots on the 15th and 16th holes.
"A little disappointing," Ghim said of his finish. "I thought I made a good putt on No. 1 and it went a little further than I expected and obviously the par putt lipped out. I just kind of hung in there and I made another bogey on the 4th but I felt like I gave myself chances from five on.”
Sitting at 9-under with two holes remaining Ghim pushed the envelope on the courses lone par-5, the 558 yard 17th but his second shot came to rest in the left greenside bunker and when he was unable to get up and down for birdie the lead for Morikawa was two with just the home hole remaining. A bogey on the last resulted in an 8-under fourth place finish for Ghim.
Three shots behind Ghim was LSU's Sam Burns in fifth at 5-under. The fifth place showing was the best of Burn's career at what will be his fourth and final Northeast Amateur before he turns professional.
On the final hole Morikawa missed the fairway right and the green left but a deft chip left him with a little more than a tap in for the victory.
"I had to grind from the first hole," the seventh ranked player in the Golfweek/AmateurGolf.com Rankings said. "I just knew I couldn’t let up, it was a long day. Luckily pars were good enough for me today."
Notes: Every year the Northeast Amateur honors the low mid-amateur finisher and this year it was Stewart Hagestad. Fresh off his appearance at the U.S. Open, Hagestad finished 2-over and tied for 21st. Hagestad closed the tournament in style with a 2-under 67.
The round of the tournament was fired on Saturday by UNLV rising senior Shintaro Ban. 2-under to begin the final round Ban shot a bogey-free 7-under 62 to tie for second at 9-under.
During the round Ban made seven birdies, including five front nine as he turned in blistering 5-under 29.
Up Next: The final stop on the first leg of AGC's One Epic Summer comes next week at the Dogwood Invitational at Druid Hills Golf Club in Atlanta, Georgia. Stay tuned!
ABOUT THE Northeast Amateur
The Northeast Amateur has a historic list of winners,
including Ben Crenshaw, Dustin Johnson, Collin
Scott Hoch, John Cook, Hal Sutton, and David Duval.
has been annually held at the Donald Ross-designed
Wannamoisett Country Club since 1962. The event
limited to 90 elite players; there is a cut after 54
and the entire tournament is played in twosomes.
View Complete Tournament Information