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By : BGA
Justin Thomas wins his second PGA Championships.
Thomas holds off Will Zalatoris in a 3 hole playoff to claim victory.
Golf is a cruel game at times. You can play great for 71 holes, make some amazing ups and downs, drain some critical putts, and half a roll from taking a 2 shot lead into the final hole, and then on the 72-hole watch the major slip out of your hands. Mito Pereira found out the hard way has he had a one-shot lead into the last hole, finds the water with his drive, pulls his third left of the green, and fails to get up and down and into the playoff.
On the flip side of the coin, Thomas didn’t look like he had done enough to put himself into contention and it looked like he was going to come up just short. When he failed to birdie the par 5 13th hole he was 3 back from the lead and running out of holes. He birdied his 17th hole, the drivable par 4 and he was 2 shots back and when he just missed birdie on the 18th he was the clubhouse leader at 5 under. He was still one back from the lead when he was in the clubhouse.
Zalatoris like Thomas thought the tournament was gone as well. He bogeyed his 12th hole, failed to birdie the 13th, backed that up with another bogey on the 16th but made an incredible up and down on the 17th for birdie to get him one back of the leader and tied in the clubhouse with Thomas.
The tournament was flipped on its head on the 17th hole. With a driver in his hand, Pereira left it short of the green. He chipped it up 12 feet under the hole and with his birdie putt leaves it half a roll short for birdie and what would have been a 2 shot lead heading into the last.
Even the commentators said that his strategy would have been completely different if he had a 2 shot lead but instead with the driver in his hand, leaks it right and it finds the creek. The rest is history as they say but that left Thomas and Zalatoris in a 3 hole playoff.
The person with the lowest score after the 3 holes would be the PGA Champion and both men got off to a solid start. The playoff holes were the par 5 13th, the driveable 17th, and the hardest hole on the course the 18th.
On the 1st playoff hole, Thomas finds the rough with his drive has to lay up to 70 yards out and knocks it to 5 feet, and makes a birdie. Zalatoris finds the fairway with his drive, hits 6 iron-on pin high, and two putts for birdie.
On the 2nd playoff hole, Thomas drives the green with his tee shot while Zalatoris hits it short right. Thomas 2 putts for birdie and Zalatoris fails to get up and down giving Thomas a one-shot lead into the last.
On the last hole, Thomas finds the fairway with his driver which makes it all that more difficult for Zalatoris to catch up. The two find the fairway but leave his second short but on the green. Meanwhile, with 9 iron in his hand from 165 yards out, Thomas hits is the middle of the green and a little long. A great shot with a one-shot lead. When Zalatoris failed to make birdie, Thomas 2 putted for par and that claiming his second PGA Championship.
“I was asked early in the week what lead is safe and I said, ‘No lead,'” Thomas said. “I can't believe I found myself in a playoff.”
After the tournament, Tiger Woods twitted out: Big congrats to @JustinThomas34! He kept himself in this championship until the very end and once he got his shot he didn’t look back. Thanks to Tulsa and the @PGAChampionship for a great week.