Charlotte - Two
spectacular birdies in the last six holes brought Justin Thomas his
first major title, the 14th-ranked American taking the PGA Championship
on Sunday in a back-nine shootout thriller.
On a day that saw five players share the lead at one stage, Thomas
fired a three-under par 68 to finish 72 holes on eight-under par 276 for
a two-stroke victory over South Africa's Louis Oosthuizen, Italy's
Francesco Molinari and American Patrick Reed.
"I knew no matter what my game was at I had to be patient," Thomas
said. "I knew I had the game to get it done. I just had to put it out
Thomas rolled in an amazing 40-foot chip shot at the par-3 13th for a
two-stroke lead and curled a 14-foot putt into the left side of the cup
to birdie the par-3 17th for a three-shot edge, making a closing bogey
"To make a birdie there was beyond a bonus," Thomas said of 17. "And 13 was really special as well."
Thomas, 24, claimed the Wanamaker Trophy and grabs the top prize of
$1.89 million for his fourth victory of the season
after last year's CIMB Classic in Malaysia and two January events in
Hawaii, the Tournament of Champions and Sony Open.
World number three Hideki Matsuyama, trying to become Japan's first
men's major golf champion, led at the turn but had five bogeys and three
birdies on the back nine to share fifth with US star Rickie Fowler on
"The course played tough. The pins were receptive, though. I was just disappointed the way I played," Matsuyama said.
"The last major of the year, and I was in contention. All I can do is just try harder next time."
Canada's Graham DeLaet and 54-hole leader Kevin Kisner were another shot back.
Thomas sandwiched a birdie between two bogeys on the first three
holes, but bounced back with birdies at seven, nine and 10 - the last
after his putt hung on the edge of the cup for nearly 10 seconds before
"It just kind of snuck up on the hole," Thomas said. "It kind of acted like a child and threw a tantrum and then it went in."
One by one, rivals
fell aside, the last being compatriot Kisner, whose 209-yard eagle
longshot from the 18th fairway to force a playoff landed in a creek.
"It was a crazy day," Thomas said. "It had to be an unbelievable day spectating."
Matsuyama sank a 22-foot birdie putt at the par-5 10th but made
bogeys on the next three holes, responded with two birdies, then missed a
four-foot par putt to bogey 16 and closed with another to fall back.
Oosthuizen, the only major winner among the contenders after his 2010
British Open triumph, holed a 34-yard chip shot eagle at the par-5 15th
but followed with a bogey to blunt the impact of his closing birdie.
"The only putt I made was on the last hole," Oosthuizen said. "I gave it everything I had coming in."
Tension mounted as Matsuyama, Molinari, Kisner, Thomas and Stroud all shared the lead at seven-under at one stage.
Kisner lipped out a six-foot par putt at 11 to fall back, his first miss inside seven feet all week after 53 such putts.
Stroud missed from the same distance for par moments later, his first off-target putt from so close as well.
Molinari charged into the hunt with four birdies in a five-hole
stretch ending at 15 but a bogey at 16 and two closing pars was not
Reed made four birdies in five holes on the front nine, added another
at 10 and birdied 14 and 15th to reach seven-under but a closing bogey
doomed his hopes.
Rory McIlroy, the 2012 and 2014 champion seeking his fifth career major
title, fired a 68 to finish on 285, sharing 22nd.
After the round, the Northern Ireland star said he has been nagged by back spasms and might not play again this season.
"I don't know what I'm going to do," he said. "You might not see me until next year. You might see me in a couple of weeks."
Scores after Sunday's final round of the 99th PGA Championship at par-71 Quail Hollow:
276 - Justin Thomas (USA) 73-66-69-68
278 - Francesco Molinari (ITA) 73-64-74-67, Patrick Reed (USA) 69-73-69-67, Louis Oosthuizen (RSA) 70-67-71-70
279 - Rickie Fowler (USA) 69-70-73-67, Hideki Matsuyama (JPN) 70-64-73-72
280 - Graham DeLaet (CAN) 70-73-68-69, Kevin Kisner (USA) 67-67-72-74
283 - Jordan Smith (ENG) 70-75-70-68, Matt Kuchar (USA) 71-74-70-68, Jason Day (AUS) 70-66-77-70, Chris Stroud (USA) 68-68-71-76
284 - Dustin Johnson (USA) 70-74-73-67, Marc Leishman (AUS) 75-71-71-67, Brooks Koepka (USA) 68-73-74-69, Ryan Moore (USA) 71-71-73-69, Brian Harman (USA) 69-75-71-69, James Hahn (USA) 73-70-71-70, Henrik Stenson (SWE) 74-70-70-70, Paul Casey (ENG) 69-70-74-71, Scott Brown (USA) 73-68-70-73
285 - Rory McIlroy (NIR) 72-72-73-68, Ian Poulter (ENG) 74-71-71-69, Robert Streb (USA) 74-70-70-71, Chez Reavie (USA) 72-70-70-73, Gary Woodland (USA) 68-74-69-74, Grayson Murray (USA) 68-73-69-75
286 - Jordan Spieth (USA) 72-73-71-70, Pat Perez (USA) 70-76-69-71, Richard Sterne (RSA) 73-72-70-71, An Byeong-Hun (KOR) 71-69-74-72, J.B. Holmes (USA) 74-73-67-72
287 - Webb Simpson (USA) 76-70-72-69, Keegan Bradley (USA) 74-70-73-70, Lucas Glover (USA) 75-70-72-70, Jason Kokrak (USA) 75-70-72-70, Jamie Lovemark (USA) 74-71-72-70, Bud Cauley 69-74-74-70, Bryson DeChambeau (USA) 73-71-72-71, Kevin Chappell (USA) 72-75-69-71, Sean O'Hair (USA) 71-75-70-71, Patrick Cantlay (USA) 72-71-72-72, Chris Wood (ENG) 72-72-70-73
288 - Jim Herman (USA) 69-75-72-72, Thorbjorn Olesen (DEN) 67-78-71-72, Tony Finau (USA) 69-74-71-74, Kang Sung (KOR) 70-71-71-76
289 - Charley Hoffman (USA) 75-71-73-70, Shane Lowry (IRL) 74-69-74-72, Charl Schwartzel (RSA) 74-70-72-73, Zach Johnson (USA) 71-73-71-74, Billy Horschel (USA) 76-70-69-74, Satoshi Kodaira (JPN) 71-76-67-75
290 - Bill Haas (USA) 75-69-73-73, Steve Stricker (USA) 75-70-72-73, D.A. Points (USA) 68-73-74-75, Ryan Fox (NZL) 75-66-71-78
291 - Jason Dufner (USA) 74-72-72-73, Kelly Kraft (USA) 73-73-71-74, Jon Rahm (ESP) 70-75-71-75
292 - Adam Scott (AUS) 71-76-74-71, Tommy Fleetwood (ENG) 70-75-73-74
293 - Dylan Frittelli (RSA) 73-71-77-72, Cody Gribble (USA) 72-75-74-72, David Lingmerth (SWE) 72-73-71-77
294 - Vijay Singh (FIJ) 75-70-79-70
295 - Hideto Tanihara (JPN) 71-75-74-75, K.T. Kim (KOR) 73-72-75-75, Alex Noren (SWE) 74-69-75-77, Lee Westwood (ENG) 73-72-75-75
296 - Russell Henley (USA) 75-71-77-73, Daniel Summerhays (USA) 76-67-77-76
297 - Charles Howell III (USA) 78-69-78-72, Omar Uresti (USA) 74-70-80-73
299 - Anirban Lahiri (IND) 72-73-76-78