Paul Casey now in a sweet spot despite missing first major as Collin Morikawa lands PGA Championship

It may have taken him 43 years, but Paul Casey believes he has finally found the “sweet spot” between ambition and attitude following his fine performance in the US PGA Championship.

All smiles: Paul Casey on the ninth hole during the final round of the PGA Championship. Pictures: AP Photo/Charlie Riedel

Casey carded a super final round of 66 at Harding Park and it took an inspired display from Collin Morikawa to deny him a first major title, the 23-year-old chipping in for a birdie on the 14th and making a spectacular eagle two holes later in a closing 64.

A tie for second place with 54-hole leader Dustin Johnson is Casey’s best result in a major on his 64th attempt and bodes well for his chances in this season’s two remaining majors at Winged Foot and Augusta National.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

The 43-year-old finished 15th when Winged Foot previously staged the US Open in 2006 and has recorded five top-10 finishes in the Masters, including three in a row from 2015-17.

Oops: Collin Morikawa reacts as the top of the Wanamaker Trophy falls.

Asked why he looked so comfortable in posting four sub-70 scores at Harding Park, Casey said: “Probably because I’ve spent three months where I didn’t touch a golf club, hanging out with my kids, my family at home.

“Then I started practising, but even those four-plus months I spent at home, I’m thinking a lot you know, figuring out what’s important to me.

“When I’m out here, I think those of you who come out and talk to me a lot, you know this isn’t the most important thing in my life. Today (Sunday) was just sort of cruise around the golf course and have a great time.

“I’ve not played great golf so far this season, so anything was going to be a bonus on where I was a week ago or two weeks ago. So I was just out there kind of having a good time.

“But I do think I’m in a sweet spot. It’s taken me 43 years to get there, but yeah, pretty chilled out, know what I’m capable of and enjoying my golf.”

Casey gave up his European Tour membership in 2015 in order to concentrate on getting back inside the world’s top 50 and devote time to his young family following the birth of first son Lex.

The move paid off and Casey held off Tiger Woods to win his first PGA Tour title since 2009 in the Valspar Championship in March, 2018, the kind of form which earned him a Ryder Cup wild card from Europe captain Thomas Bjorn.

Casey thought at the time that could well be his last appearance in the biennial contest and although his performance in San Francisco will not count towards Ryder Cup qualifying due to the event being pushed back to 2021, the world No 19 may well be part of the European side in Italy.

Morikawa took the title in stunning fashion after a thrilling final round in San Francisco.

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 his 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 Johnson and Casey.

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.”

Casey carded five birdies and a solitary bogey in a final round of 66 with Matthew Wolff, Jason Day, Bryson DeChambeau, Tony Finau and Scottie Scheffler all sharing fourth place on 10 under.

Olympic champion Justin Rose finished alone in ninth on nine under following a final round 67.

“I played wonderful golf. Collin thoroughly deserves it,” continued Casey. “I mean, what a shot he hit on 16, just awesome golf. There’s nothing you can do except tip your cap to that.”

US PGA Championship final round scores (USA unless stated, par 70):

267 Collin Morikawa 69 69 65 64; 269 Dustin Johnson 69 67 65 68, Paul Casey (Eng) 68 67 68 66; 270 Tony Finau 67 70 67 66, Jason Day (Aus) 65 69 70 66, Matthew Wolff 69 68 68 65, Scottie Scheffler 66 71 65 68, Bryson DeChambeau 68 70 66 66; 271 Justin Rose (Eng) 66 68 70 67; 272 Joel Dahmen 69 68 68 67, Xander Schauffele 66 70 69 67, Cameron Champ 71 64; 67 70; 273 Daniel Berger 67 67 70 69, Jon Rahm (Spa) 70 69 68 66, Si Woo Kim (Kor) 69 68 68 68, Patrick Reed 68 70 69 66; 274 Haotong Li (Chn) 67 65 73 69, Brendon Todd 65 70 72 67; 275 Lanto Griffin 68 68 71 68, Kevin Kisner 67 73 68 67, Harris English 69 71 69 66; 276 Brendan Steele 66 71 72 67, Hideki Matsuyama (Jpn) 70 67 69 70, Adam Scott (Aus) 68 70 70 68, Alex Noren (Swe) 67 69 73 67, Byeong-Hun An (Kor) 72 69 71 64, Ian Poulter (Eng) 73 68 66 69, Victor Perez (Fra) 70 69 69 68; 277 Brooks Koepka 66 68 69 74, Doc Redman 73 67 70 67, Harold Varner III 72 66 69 70, Tommy Fleetwood (Eng) 70 64 70 73; 278 Rory McIlroy (NIrl) 70 69 71 68, Viktor Hovland (Nor) 68 71 73 66, Louis Oosthuizen (Rsa) 70 71 70 67, Dylan Frittelli (Rsa) 70 67 70 71; 279 Bud Cauley 66 71 73 69, Justin Thomas 71 70 68 70, Tiger Woods 68 72 72 67, Russell Henley 71 69 71 68, Nate Lashley 69 70 70 70, Webb Simpson 71 68 68 72; 280 Mike Lorenzo-Vera (Fra) 66 68 72 74, Ryan Palmer 74 66 76 64, Patrick Cantlay 73 68 66 73, Abraham Ancer (Mex) 69 70 72 69, Cameron Smith (Aus) 71 69 70 70, Billy Horschel 69 71 71 69, Keith Mitchell 68 72 68 72, Bernd Wiesberger (Aut) 68 68 70 74; 281 Kurt Kitayama 68 72 70 71, Luke List 72 69 70 70, Mark Hubbard 70 71 70 70, Joost Luiten (Ned) 71 68 73 69, Adam Long 73 68 72 68, Erik Van Rooyen (Rsa) 71 70 74 66, Brandt Snedeker 72 66 72 71; 282 Denny McCarthy 70 69 70 73, Charl Schwartzel (Rsa) 73 68 68 73, Gary Woodland 67 72 73 70, Adam Hadwin (Can) 68 71 70 73, Mackenzie Hughes (Can) 73 68 69 72, Brian Harman 68 71 71 72, Tom Hoge 72 68 72 70, Kevin Streelman 69 70 73 70; 283 Emiliano Grillo (Arg) 70 70 70 73, Rory Sabbatini (Svk) 71 70 72 70, Sepp Straka (Aut) 70 71 71 71, Shane Lowry (Irl) 68 72 69 74, Robert Macintyre (Sco) 73 67 74 69; 284 Phil Mickelson 72 69 70 73, Danny Lee (Nzl) 69 71 74 70, Bubba Watson 70 71 73 70, Jordan Spieth 73 68 76 67; 286 JT Poston 67 74 75 70, Chez Reavie 71 70 75 70; 287 Matt Wallace (Eng) 71 70 74 72, Jim Herman 71 69 72 75; 290 Sung Kang (Kor) 70 71 76 73

Editor’s note: first and foremost - and rarely have I written down these words with more sincerity - I hope this finds you well.

Almost certainly you are here because you value the quality and the integrity of the journalism produced by The Yorkshire Post’s journalists - almost all of which live alongside you in Yorkshire, spending the wages they earn with Yorkshire businesses - who last year took this title to the industry watchdog’s Most Trusted Newspaper in Britain accolade.

And that is why I must make an urgent request of you: as advertising revenue declines, your support becomes evermore crucial to the maintenance of the journalistic standards expected of The Yorkshire Post. If you can, safely, please buy a paper or take up a subscription. We want to continue to make you proud of Yorkshire’s National Newspaper but we are going to need your help.

Postal subscription copies can be ordered by calling 0330 4030066 or by emailing [email protected] Vouchers, to be exchanged at retail sales outlets - our newsagents need you, too - can be subscribed to by contacting subscriptions on 0330 1235950 or by visiting www.localsubsplus.co.uk where you should select The Yorkshire Post from the list of titles available.

If you want to help right now, download our tablet app from the App / Play Stores. Every contribution you make helps to provide this county with the best regional journalism in the country.

Sincerely. Thank you.

James Mitchinson

Editor