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Justin Thomas wins PGA Championship


Justin Thomas is a significant champion when he least anticipated it.

Thomas matched a PGA Championship document Sunday when he rallied from a seven-shot deficit at Southern Hills, after which saved his most beautiful shot-making for a three-hole playoff to defeat Will Zalatoris.

He closed with a 3-under 67, matching the low rating of a last spherical made troublesome extra by nerves than the wind. He seized management within the playoff with a 3-wood to 35 ft on the 301-yard seventeenth gap for a two-putt birdie.

He tapped in for par and stood erect with a smile, a combination of pleasure and disbelief.

“I used to be requested early within the week what lead is secure and I stated, ‘No lead,'” Thomas stated. “I am unable to consider I discovered myself in a playoff.”

Thomas wanted loads of assist, and Mito Pereira offered it in a tragic end. The 27-year-old from Chile, enjoying in solely his second main, took a one-shot result in the ultimate gap and drove right into a creek to make double bogey.

It was the primary time since Phil Mickelson at Winged Foot within the 2006 U.S. Open {that a} participant misplaced a one-shot lead within the last gap to lose a significant.

PGA Championship - Final Round
Justin Thomas of the US poses with the Wanamaker Trophy after placing in to win on the 18th inexperienced, the third playoff gap throughout the last spherical of the 2022 PGA Championship at Southern Hills Nation Membership on Could 22, 2022 in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Getty Pictures


Zalatoris seemed like he had thrown away his probabilities for a primary main — and first PGA Tour victory — when he three-putted from simply exterior 20 ft on the sixteenth gap. However he responded with a birdie from the bunker on the seventeenth and holed an 8-foot par putt on the 18th for a 71.

He joined Thomas at 5-under 275, and so they performed on when Pereira faltered.

Thomas, who had gone 14 months since his final victory at The Gamers Championship final 12 months, now has a PGA Tour victory in every of his final eight years and strikes to No. 5 on the planet.

John Mahaffey within the 1978 PGA Championship at Oakmont was the opposite participant to return from seven photographs behind on the ultimate day. He additionally gained in a playoff over Tom Watson and Jerry Pate.

Thomas was nonetheless seven photographs behind when he made his outstanding run, a combination of key birdies and retaining errors off his card. It began with a 65-foot birdie putt from simply in need of the inexperienced to a again pin on the par-3 eleventh. He edged nearer with an 18-foot birdie on the following gap.

He was lurking, whereas the main pack behind him was leaking oil.

Zalatoris and Cameron Younger every caught Pereira, ever so briefly. All of them discovered bother within the tough and within the sand. Thomas almost holed an extended bunker shot on the sixteenth, made birdie from a left bunker on the reachable seventeenth and had a 10-foot birdie putt he thought he wanted on the finish.

He missed, and acquired a reprieve.

Pereira was on the cusp of changing into Chile’s first main champion, and giving South America the profession Grand Slam.

Even after 5 bogeys, he by no means misplaced the lead and delivered clutch par saves from the bunker left of the ninth inexperienced and from properly behind the tenth inexperienced. None was greater than his 12-foot putt on the sixteenth to remain one shot forward.

All of it got here undone with one swing.

His sawed-off swing with the driving force, so efficient on the earlier gap, peeled to the appropriate and into the creek down the appropriate facet of the 18th fairway. After a penalty drop, his strategy up the hill began left and by no means in the reduction of, touchdown within the tough. His chip rolled off the again fringe of the inexperienced.

His double bogey gave him a 75, a hard-luck finish to such a promising week.

“On Monday, I simply wished to make the minimize. On Sunday, I wished to win,” Pereira stated. “I will take this to study for the long run.”

PGA Championship - Final Round
Justin Thomas reacts to his profitable putt on the 18th gap, the third playoff gap throughout the last spherical of the 2022 PGA Championship at Southern Hills Nation Membership on Could 22, 2022 in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Richard Heathcote / Getty Pictures


Younger, whose father is a longtime PGA skilled, additionally will look again at missed probabilities. Enjoying with Zalatoris, a former roommate at Wake Forest, Younger was within the combine all day and was briefly tied for the lead. His hopes ended on he sixteenth went he discovered a bunker proper of the inexperienced, blasted out weakly to 30 ft and three-putted for a double bogey. He closed with a 71.

Matt Fitzpatrick of England, who performed within the last group with Pereira, additionally stayed in vary, two photographs behind till his sloppy bogey on the seventeenth. He shot 73 and tied for fifth with Tommy Fleetwood (67) and Chris Kirk (68).

Rory McIlroy made a quick run with 4 straight birdies on the entrance 9, placing him at 4-under par for the match. He was 2 over the remainder of the way in which and completed eighth.

In eight majors at Southern Hills, it was first time a participant rallied from any margin to win, and it was solely the second playoff. Retief Goosen gained the opposite within the 2001 U.S. Open after he three-putted from 12 ft on the ultimate gap. At the very least he acquired one other likelihood, in contrast to Pereira.

Six of the seven earlier main champions at Southern Hills are within the World Golf Corridor of Fame. The 29-year-old Thomas, now with two majors amongst his 15 profession PGA Tour victories, is unquestionably headed there at some point.



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