The 24-year-old from Kentucky lived up to his billing as a great talent for the future in golf when he won his first major tournament at the PGA Championship in North Carolina. Two spectacular birdies sealed the win.
At one point on Sunday afternoon's final round of the PGA Championship, there were five golfers tied for the lead. However, in the end, US golfer Justin Thomas managed to outlast the competition and take home the trophy with a score of 8 under par.
"I knew no matter what my game was I needed to be patient," Thomas said after his win at the Quail Hollow Club in Charlotte, North Carolina. "I felt I had the game to get it done.
He finished two shots ahead of Italy's Francesco Molinari, US player Patrick Reed and South Africa's Louis Oosthuizen who all finished 6 under par.
Kevin Kisner held the lead for the first three days of the tournament but wilted under the pressure on Sunday and finished at 4 under.
The week began with Jordan Spieth making his quest for a career grand slam. But it was not to be. However, Spieth, who has been close friends with Thomas since they were 14 years old, was at the last green late Sunday afternoon along with Rickie Fowler to watch Thomas make the final putt to win the Wanamaker trophy.
Sunday began with Kisner holding the lead at 8 under. Up until the final hour, there were five players who could have won the tournament. But it was Thomas who surged ahead by chipping in a birdie at the thirteenth hole.
Japan's Hideki Matsuyama who was bidding to be a first major winner from the Asian nation, appeared to recover from back-to-back bogeys with two straight birdies on the 14th and 15th holes to get within one shot of the lead. But Thomas never let up and the 16th hole proved decisive. Thomas was looking at a 6-foot par to stay at 8 under. Matsuyama chipped to within 5 feet of the cup. Thomas calmly rolled in his putt while Matsuyama missed and was suddenly two shots behind.
Thomas then sealed the championship with a marvelous 7-iron shot on the 221 yard 17th hole that rolled to within 15 feet of the pin. His birdie curled in and he was three up going to the final hole.
The only player who might have caught Thomas was Kisner who was the last player to finish the course but he three-putted from 100 feet on the 16th for a bogey and his second shot on 18 found the water to the left of the green. Kisner finished with a double bogey 6.
It was Justin Thomas's fourth victory of the year.
av/jm (Reuters, AP)