American debutant Collin Morikawa seized control of the British Open as he took a four-shot lead into the back nine of the final round at a sun-baked Royal St George’s on Sunday.
The 24-year-old world number four began the day a stroke behind South African Louis Oosthuizen but, while others faltered, he played impeccably over the first nine holes.
After six successive pars he made a tap-in birdie at the par-five seventh to take the lead as playing partner Oosthuizen visited two bunkers on his way to a bogey.
Morikawa, who also won the 2020 PGA title on his debut, then birdied the eighth and ninth to reach the turn 14 under par, three ahead of fellow American Jordan Spieth who battled back after a poor start to birdie the ninth and 10th.
Oosthuizen, who began the day as favourite to add to the British Open title he won in 2010, was four back after completing his opening nine holes two over par.
American four-time major winner Brooks Koepka was in a tie for fourth place after a scintillating five-under 65 rocketed him up the leaderboard.
World number one Dustin Johnson also mounting a late charge with a three-under 67, although his hopes of a British Open title will have to wait for another year.
Among the early starters, Bryson DeChambeau finally had something to smile about after a difficult week when he finished with a flawless 65 to get to two under par.
The long-hitting American apologised for what he described as “very unprofessional” comments about his driver on Thursday and had struggled to get to grips with the tight undulating fairways until he found his range on Sunday.
Rory McIlroy’s frustrating tournament continued, the four-times major winner from Northern Ireland mixing four birdies with three bogeys and a double-bogey to finish at level-par.