Sport Golf

Sunday 18 March 2018

WATCH - Joy for Justin Thomas as he lands his first major title with US PGA triumph

Justin Thomas hoisting the giant Wanamaker Trophy aloft. Photo: Getty Images
Justin Thomas hoisting the giant Wanamaker Trophy aloft. Photo: Getty Images

Jordan Spieth missed out on becoming the youngest winner of a career grand slam but still had reason to celebrate as his good friend Justin Thomas claimed a first major title in the US PGA Championship.

Thomas carded a closing 68 in a pulsating final round at Quail Hollow to finish eight under par, two shots ahead of Patrick Reed, Louis Oosthuizen and Francesco Molinari.

Rickie Fowler and Hideki Matsuyama shared fifth place on five under with Kevin Kisner, who needed to eagle the 18th to force a play-off but ran up a double bogey, dropping back into a tie for seventh with Graham DeLaet.

England's Jordan Smith, playing in his first major championship, carded a closing 68 to finish a tie for ninth with Open runner-up Matt Kuchar and former world number one Jason Day.

Spieth and Fowler were waiting beside the 18th green to embrace Thomas before he signed his card to claim the first prize of 1.89million US dollars (£1.4million) for his fourth win of a remarkable season.

The 24-year-old, who became the youngest player to shoot 59 on the PGA Tour on his way to winning back-to-back events in Hawaii in January, began the final round two shots off the lead held by compatriot Kisner.

And his chances of following Open champion Spieth as a major champion took an immediate blow when he thinned a bunker shot on the first across the green and into another bunker.

After bouncing back immediately with a birdie on the next, Thomas dropped another shot on the third before getting back on track with birdies on the seventh and ninth.

Another birdie did not look on the cards as Thomas hooked his drive on the par-five 10th, but the ball bounced off the trees and back into the fairway, from where he was almost able to find the green.

After chipping to eight feet Thomas saw his birdie putt hang on the edge of the hole for nearly 10 seconds before it eventually dropped in and took him into a five-way tie for the lead.

That tie lasted just a few minutes as Matsuyama, Kisner, Chris Stroud and Molinari all dropped shots, with Thomas then chipping in for birdie on the 13th to move two shots clear.

Thomas saw his two-shot lead cut in half as first Reed, then Matsuyama and Kisner, all picked up shots on the 14th and 15th to reach seven under par.

But Reed could only bogey the 18th after finding sand off the tee and Thomas holed from 15 feet on the 17th to increase his lead, before Matsuyama and Kisner both bogeyed the 16th.

That meant Thomas could afford to bogey the last and leave Kisner to try to play the last two holes in two under par, only for the 33-year-old to pull his approach to the last into the creek which runs the length of the hole and double bogey.

"I can't put it into words right now. I'm glad to have a trophy now," said Thomas.

"I've been playing the final three holes pretty well all week. The adrenaline today has been unbelievable - the ball has been going so far.

"On the 16th, I've been driving well so I just tried to get it up there over the bunker and make par, then on the 17th the pin today was brutal so to make birdie was beyond a bonus."

Press Association

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