Miami - American
Justin Thomas rolled in a birdie on the first hole of a playoff to
out-duel third round leader Luke List and win the PGA Tour's Honda
Classic on Sunday.
The 24-year-old Thomas posted his eighth win on the PGA Tour and his seventh victory in his last 31 tournaments.
"It was another level of difficulty, not only the amount of people I was trying to beat, but this golf course," said Thomas.
"I am so proud of myself and how I played. When you get out of position you have to try to salvage par and that's what I did.
"I just stayed patient. I know what to expect, how tough it can be, and it feels good to come out on top."
Thomas closed with a two-under 68 to catch 54-hole leader List, who
had a one-under 69. They both finished with an eight-under 272 total at
the PGA National course.
Sweden's Alex Noren shot a three-under 67 to finish alone in third,
just one stroke back of the leaders. England's Tommy Fleetwood placed
fourth after shooting a 69 to reach six-under 274 total, two shots
adrift of Thomas and List.
Tiger Woods fired an even-par 70 in the fourth round for an even-par 280 total to land in 12th place.
Thomas hit a beautiful approach shot on the only hole of the playoff
as his ball sailed over a bunker and landed on the green giving him a
long downhill putt for birdie.
His first putt stopped four feet short but he made no
mistake on the second putt for the victory that will move him into
number three in the world rankings.
American List got into trouble off the tee as his drive on 18 went
right and landed in the middle of a small cluster of trees. His next
shot sailed way left over the gallery and into the grandstand fence. He
two-putted for a par.
"It is going to sting a little bit," said List. "In a playoff, you can't give Justin a par because he is going to hit birdies."
Thomas' final round was not without controversy. He tried to have a
spectator removed on the 16th tee for heckling him and then had to
apologize after the tournament for using a four-letter word on the green
at 18 when he made the winning putt live on television.
"I feel pretty terrible and uncomfortable. Everybody heard that," Thomas said.
Woods followed his 69 in the third round with a 70 on Sunday to
finish eight shots back of the top spot on the difficult Florida golf
Saturday's 69 was the first score in the 60s in nine rounds this year
for the 14-time major winner, who returned to US PGA Tour competition
late January at Torrey Pines after back problems.
"I made a big leap this week. I really hit it well," said Woods, the former world number one.
Woods finished with four birdies, two bogeys and one double bogey on
Sunday. He says his game and his problematic back are starting to feel
good again and the key is to maintain his rigorous fitness routine.
"I played well this week," he said. "Overall I am very pleased with the progress I have made.
"My body feels good. I need to keep it feeling good. I need to get back in the gym and keep it strong."
Earlier this month, Woods told a Los Angeles television station that
the extended time off, due to injuries, has given him a new appreciation
for golf fans.
"I have been home a lot. I haven't been able to move much the last
three months. So many people have just wished me well," he said.
"I have been away from the game for a long enough time that I saw a side of the public I didn't know."
Leading fourth round scores here on Sunday in PGA Tour Honda Classic in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida (x-won in playoff, par-70):
272 - x-Justin Thomas (USA) 67-72-65-68, Luke List (USA) 71-66-66-69
273 - Alexander Noren (SWE) 66-75-65-67
274 - Tommy Fleetwood (ENG) 70-68-67-69
276 - Webb Simpson (USA) 66-72-66-72, An Byeong-Hun (KOR) 70-72-69-65
277 - Jamie Lovemark (USA) 68-69-68-72
278 - Sam Burns (USA) 70-71-69-68, Kelly Kraft (USA) 72-69-66-71, Emiliano Grillo (ARG) 71-72-69-66
279 - Dylan Frittelli (RSA) 71-72-67-69
280 - Tiger Woods (USA) 70-71-69-70
281 - Dominic Bozzelli (USA) 68-73-71-69, Derek Fathauer (USA) 73-72-71-65, Adam Scott (AUS) 73-72-67-69, Thomas Pieters (BEL) 69-70-71-71
282 - Greg Chalmers (AUS) 74-71-70-67, Scott Piercy (USA) 70-70-71-71, Tom Lovelady (USA) 75-70-67-70, Lucas Glover (USA) 70-75-71-66, Jason Dufner (USA) 69-72-70-71, Rory Sabbatini (RSA) 69-69-71-73, Cheng Tsung Pan (TPE) 71-71-71-69