Morikawa Win Felt Even in Burbank

Winner of golf major has even lifted the spirits of some locals.

DeBell's 50th Annual High School Invitational team winners from La Canada High School, along with tourney head Joaquin Herbozo (in center wearing blue) and Low Overall winner Josh Suh (holding 2 plaques.) Collin Morikawa, 2021 winner of the British Open, is standing next to Suh, holding a single plaque. (Photo Courtesy DeBell Golf Club)

Collin Morikawa’s victory in The Open, also referred to as the British Open, has certainly sent shockwaves in the local community.

Morikawa, 24, grew up in La Canada Flintridge, and most of his time away from home was spent at Chevy Chase Country Club in Glendale and other golf courses around the area.

His coach of 16 years, Rick Sessinghaus, is a Burbank High grad, who still lives in the community.

“It’s a thrill, it’s awesome,” Sessinghaus said as he was fielding calls and texts from hundreds of media outlets.

Morikawa, who had no bogeys in his final 31 holes in Britain this weekend, had success growing up playing at DeBell Golf Club in Burbank.

In 2012, as a freshman at La Canada High, he shot 69 to win the Burbank Invitational, beating Burroughs’ Kelsey Danzeisen by a stroke for the individual title.

As a junior in 2014, Morikawa helped La Canada High capture the team title.  He shot 70 to finish third for the day behind teammate Josh Suh and Robby Stehlin of Mira Costa High in Manhattan Beach.
Morikawa also competed at DeBell on the junior golf scene.

In 2009 he competed in the Burbank City Championship, shooting 75 to finish second in his division.

Recent Burbank High graduate J.J. Nakao, who was working on his putting game at DeBell on Sunday afternoon, reflected on watching Morikawa play.

“I was glued on the TV. He’s an incredible player. He’s super good under pressure. He has a great mental game,” said Nakao, who will play this fall at UC Irvine.

Morikawa began the day in second place, before taking over the lead from South Africa’s Louis Oosthuizen.

“I was expecting him to. I’m not going to lie. He’s been playing pretty solid recently. His mental game just defines who he is,” Nakao said.